California Coastkeeper Alliance * Heal the Bay * Sierra Club California * NRDC * Clean Water Action California League of Conservation Voters * Planning and Conservation League Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations * Southern California Watershed Alliance Santa Monica Baykeeper * Environmental Health Coalition * San Diego Coastkeeper * Ocean Conservancy Pacific Environment * Defenders of Wildlife * * Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust * San Diego Coastkeeper Seventh Generation Advisors * Bolsa Chica Land Trust * Orange County Coastkeeper
Surfrider Foundation * Environmental Justice Coalition for Water * Food & Water Watch
Protect California’s Coast and Ocean -Oppose AB 1552
End the Last-Minute Exceptions to Publicly Adopted Environmental Rules
WHAT: On May 4th, after a five-year public process that involved numerous public hearings; input from dozens of stakeholders including the CEC, California ISO, CPUC, LADWP, U.S. EPA, as well as environmental, energy and fishing stakeholders; and several detailed, state-funded, independent analyses; the State Water Board adopted its final “Policy on the Use of Coastal and Estuarine Waters for Power Plant Cooling.” The Policy addresses the significant harm caused by antiquated cooling systems that pull in coastal, bay and Delta water and circulate it “once through” power plants. The Water Board submitted 16,000 pages of administrative record to OAL in support of the process and Policy (see www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/npdes/cwa316.shtml#otc).
WHY: Federal Clean Water Act Section 316(b) requires the state to adopt regulations to control the impacts of these “once-through cooling” (OTC) systems. These requirements were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. Some facts supporting the need for the state’s Policy include the following: ○ Coastal power plants are permitted to withdraw almost 18 million acre-feet of water for cooling per year,
killing tens of billions of fish and other marine life each year. This translates to 41⁄2 to almost 13 times the amount of water running through the entire State Water Project annually. Just the 12 Southern California plants using OTC kill up to 30% of the number of fish recreationally caught off Southern California each year.
WHO: The need for this Policy was strongly supported by (among others) the Ocean Protection Council and State Lands Commission in separate 2006 resolutions, and the CEC in a 2005 Report. The final Policy was supported by a statewide coalition of conservation, fishing, environmental justice and energy groups, as well as numerous state Assembly Members and Senators and U.S. EPA.
AB 1552: This bill would carve out a specific exception from the Policy for a single stakeholder – the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – and encourage others to seek their own special exceptions in a gut-and-amend process that is the antithesis of the careful public discussions and independent evaluations that led to the final Policy’s adoption. AB 1552 would overturn specific State Water Board decisions on how to count flow reductions (resulting in situations where no action at all could be counted as compliance), would change the definition of a “feasible” action to be inconsistent with the applicable and definition in the technology-forcing Clean Water Act, and would extend the deadline for compliance by over a decade to at least 2031, and perhaps indefinitely. AB 1552’s overturning of the OTC Policy for a single stakeholder is not only ill-advised, it is unnecessary. State Water Board staff and NGOs have been working closely with LADWP to identify a compliance path, and this work is ongoing.
Protect California’s Coast and Ocean, and the Integrity of a Five-Year Public Process. Please Oppose AB 1552. Thank you.
Questions: Jim Metropulos, Sierra Club California, 916-557-1100, ext. 109, firstname.lastname@example.org Linda Sheehan, California Coastkeeper Alliance, 510-219-7730, email@example.com