Monning calls for economic study on closing Diablo Canyon
February 10, 2016
State Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has introduced a bill that would require officials to begin planning for the economic repercussions of closing the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
Diablo Canyon’s current licenses expire in 2024 and 2025. While PG&E is expected to apply for relicensing, there is increasing pressure to shut down the nuclear power plant.
Late last year, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate, Gavin Newsom, predicted the plant would close by the time its current licenses expire.
Monning, whose district includes San Luis Obispo County, introduced SB 968 on Monday, according to a press release issued by his office.
SB 968 would require PG&E to compile an assessment of the adverse economic impacts to San Luis Obispo County that would occur if Diablo Canyon were to shut down temporarily or permanently. The bill would also require an independent third party to determine if temporary or permanent closure of the power plant would result in a decrease in local tax revenues and a decrease in the local workforce, as well as whether there would be indirect economic losses.
According to Monning, Diablo Canyon has approximately 1,483 employees, and PG&E is the largest property taxpayer in SLO County. PG&E paid more than $25 million in SLO County property taxes in 2014, much of which was attributable to power plant operations, the press release states.
It is estimated that the San Luis Coastal school district receives more than $10 million, or about 16 percent of its operating budget, from PG&E taxes.
Monning’s bill would also require a third party to identify contingency plans that could mitigate economic impacts to local entities. The information gathered could then be used to develop an economic mitigation strategy.
“The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is a major employer and taxpayer in San Luis Obispo County, and no one can say with any certainty if it will continue to operate in the long-term,” Monning said. “The region’s economy is reliant on the plant, and it is critical that we have information about the potential adverse economic impacts that could occur if Diablo Canyon closes either temporarily or permanently.”
A previous report commissioned by PG&E concluded Diablo Canyon contributes approximately $920 million annually to the economies of SLO County and northern Santa Barbara County and generates 22 percent of the electricity that PG&E supplies across California. The Nuclear Energy Institute and Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business authored the report.