A new state law mandates that San Luis Obispo County and a coalition of local entities receive over $85 million dollars to help mitigate the closing of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill co-sponsored by Central Coast state lawmakers Bill Monning and Jordan Cunningham.
The law—SB 1090— requires the state's public utilities commission to approve parts of what's called the Joint Proposal. That proposal has PG&E customers paying an multimillion dollar “community impact mitigation settlement” to the county, several cities, a school district and local unions. It also approves full funding of a $350 million dollar employee retention program.
“This has been an incredible regional collaboration and victory for San Luis Obispo County," said Derek Johnson, San Luis Obispo’s city manager, on behalf of the local coalition in a statement after Brown’s signing. "SB 1090 provides one-time economic assistance for communities that have shouldered the burden of living with a nuclear power plant in their backyard for the last three decades to provide the rest of the State with clean, reliable power."
Late last year, a judge’s decision paved the way for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant to close in 2025, and that decision was ratified by the full California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The decision allowed PG&E to increase customer rates enough to recover over $190 million dollars to pay for closure costs: $160.5 million to pay PG&E salaries over the next eight years, $11.3 million to retrain workers and $18.6 million for license renewal costs. However, the judge rejected PG&E’s request to charge customers even more to pay the $85 million to members of the local coalition.
In February, Monning introduced SB 1090. Among other findings, it states, “The joint proposal entered into between PG&E and interested parties governing the retirement of the Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 powerplant at the expiration of its current operating license period, the replacement of electrical generation capacity lost due to the closure with a portfolio of greenhouse-gas-free resources, the retention of highly skilled nuclear powerplant workers prior to the retirement, and the mitigation of the impacts of the closure on local communities, as modified by the community impact mitigation settlement, is in the interest of utility customers.”