It’s being called a groundbreaking agreement between PG&E and San Luis Obispo County over the future closure of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
The proposed $85 million deal is aimed at softening the economic jolt to the County, neighboring cities and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District over the future loss of property tax revenue from the plant.
$75 million would be put into an “Essential Services Mitigation Fund” to offset negative impacts to services provided to the community by the County of San Luis Obispo and San Luis Coastal Unified School District with the school district getting the bulk of the money in nine, equal annual payments.
The remaining $10 million would go into an “Economic Development Fund” to be split up between the County and the Coalition of Cities to ease local economic impacts of the plant’s closure.
“Super challenging, its going to be a big change, I feel hopeful that there’s enough time to figure out how to run our schools and other things without that income and with that cushion that PG&E is providing”, says Molly ZagRodny who has a son and daughter at San Luis Obispo High School, “9 years is also a long time for leaders to come and go, people change, how binding is this agreement? So I would hope it wouldn’t be any less than what it is now, I wouldn’t demand that it would be more, I would just hope that everyone keeps up with their end of the bargain and managing the money is always the tricky part.”
“Its kind of like welfare”, says Daniel See who works as an engineer at Diablo Canyon and wants to see the plant remain open arguing its in the long term economic benefit of the county, the cities and the school district, “we should operate the plant as long as its viable and safe, the NRC never said its unsafe, this lump sum, or if you spread it out over nine years, its a nice thing, its beneficial to the county but at the same time its a small, its a drop in the bucket compared to if we could have the plant run another 20 years and extend the license.”
The third part of the proposed agreement maintains PG&E funding for offsite emergency preparedness and planning in the community until Diablo Canyon is fully decommissioned and re-iterates PG&E’s pledge to include community input on its future plans for the power plant and its sprawling coastal property.
Public meetings are planned next month by the County, the cities involved and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District to review the terms of the proposed agreement.
Final approval by all parties involved must be forwarded to the California Public Utilities Commission which will have the final say on the agreement.