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For immediate release: February 11, 2003
Media Contact: Chris Davis - (916) 654-4989

Energy Commission Releases Final Staff Assessment of
SMUD Cosumnes Power Plant Proposal

Sacramento - The staff of the California Energy Commission has determined that SMUD's Cosumnes Power Plant proposal would not significantly impact the environment, public health and safety or the electric transmission grid in all areas studied so far. The first part of the Final Staff Assessment was released today. According to the staff analysis, the project would not violate any laws, ordinances, regulations or standards. However, before the project can be recommended for Commission approval, the staff must complete its analysis of biological resources, soil and water resources, and alternatives.

The Energy Commission staff plans to release part two of the Final Staff Assessment with the section on soil and water resources in the near future. The biological resources and alternatives sections will be filed once the staff has received the necessary information from SMUD, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Part one of the Final Staff Assessment of SMUD's Cosumnes Power Plant Project can be viewed and printed from the Energy Commission website at:


The Final Staff Assessment is not a decision or proposed decision on the SMUD proposal. The document represents the Energy Commission staff's thorough and independent assessment of the project's potential impacts in such areas as the environment, public health and safety, and the transmission system, and serves as the functional equivalent of an environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The report will also serve as the staff's testimony at Evidentiary Hearings to be held by the Committee of two Energy Commissioners overseeing this case. The first set of hearings is scheduled for March 13 & 14, 2003, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. By the conclusion of the Evidentiary Hearings, the Committee will hear recommendations from SMUD, other government agencies involved in the review, and interested parties, before drafting a proposed decision on the project.

The Cosumnes Power Plant Project, as proposed by SMUD, is a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility, to be built in two phases, each consisting of 500 megawatts. The project would be located on 30 acres, one-half mile south of the retired Rancho Seco Power Plant, which is 25 miles southeast of Sacramento. Each unit of the new facility will consist of two combustion turbines, one condensing-steam turbine and two heat-recovery steam generators. A new 26-mile natural-gas pipeline would supply fuel to the facility. SMUD is proposing to use a zero liquid discharge system so that no wastewater will be released into the nearby Clay Creek.

Only the first phase is being considered for licensing in this proceeding. SMUD is seeking a license to begin construction in 2003 and is targeting 2005 to get phase one of the Cosumnes Power Project on-line. The SMUD Board of Directors will then decide whether to pursue the second phase of the project. If and when SMUD decides to go ahead with phase two, a supplement to the Application For Certification will be required to allow the Energy Commission staff to fully analyze the project's impacts on air quality, the transmission system and soil and water resources.

The next step in the Energy Commission's process will be a Pre-Hearing Conference, sponsored by the Siting Committee, to assess the readiness of all parties for upcoming evidentiary hearings, to identify areas of agreement and dispute, and discuss procedures:

Friday, February 21, 2003
Beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Rancho Seco Conference Room
(Wheelchair Accessible)
14440 Twin Cities Road
Herald, California 95638

As a convenience, people who cannot attend the hearing in person may participate by calling the toll-free number for the proceeding: 1-888-790-1641. The passcode is "SMUD" and the leader is Garret Shean.

Public participation is an important part of the Energy Commission power plant licensing process. For information on how to participate, contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, at (916) 654-4489, (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at:


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