[California Energy Commission Seal]
CALIFORNIA
ENERGY
COMMISSION

ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR
CONTINUANCE OF COMMISSION
HEARING ON RECONSIDERATION

BLYTHE ENERGY PROJECT II
APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION
DOCKET NO. 02-AFC-1
Background:

On December 14, 2005, the Energy Commission voted to adopt the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision and Errata in the Blythe II Application for Certification. On January 13, 2006, Intervenor Carmela Garnica filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the Decision. On January 20, 2006, the Commission filed and served a Notice of Commission Hearing on Reconsideration scheduling a public hearing on February 1, 2006, to consider the Petition for Reconsideration.

On January 23, 2006, Intervenor Carmela Garnica filed a Request for Continuance of the scheduled hearing. Intervenor's Request notes that the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District provided the Commission with the District's filing with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) relating to US EPA approvals for the Blythe II project.

Intervenor Garnica requests an indefinite continuance of the hearing until such time as the US EPA grants the approvals for the Blythe II project. At that time, the Intervenor requests that the Hearing on Reconsideration be held and a representative of the US EPA attend the hearing and be made available for questioning by the Intervenor, with teleconferencing and Spanish translation provided.

Discussion:

Public Resources Code section 25530 provides the Commission a limited period of time to reconsider a decision to certify a site and related facility. That section states in relevant part that "The commission shall order or deny reconsideration on a petition therefor within 30 days after the petition is filed." Moreover, section 1720 of the Commission's regulations requires the Commission to "hold a hearing for the presentation of argument on a petition to reconsider and [to] act to grant or deny a petition for reconsideration within thirty (30) days of the receipt of such a petition." (Cal. Code of Regs. Tit. 20, § 1720, subd. (b).) The same regulation also provides that "[i]n the absence of an affirmative vote of three members of the commission to grant the petition for reconsideration, the petition shall be denied." (Cal. Code of Regs. Tit. 20, § 1720, subd. (d)).

The requested continuance would delay consideration of the Petition for an indefinite amount of time. Such a delay is contrary to the provisions of the applicable law. Moreover, failure to consider the Petition would result in its denial. Addressing this matter on the scheduled date (thus denying the continuance) enables the Commission to comply with the law and provide the Intervenor a timely opportunity to be heard.

The Commission interprets the Petition for Reconsideration and the subsequent Request for Continuance as contending that the US EPA's granting of project approvals needs to occur prior to final Commission action to approve the Blythe II project. The Commission may consider the validity of this contention at the currently scheduled hearing on the Petition for Reconsideration. Thus, there is no need to postpone consideration of the Petition in order to provide Intervenor an opportunity to be heard on the matters raised in her pleadings. Given the Intervenor's past participation in this proceeding in English, and the fact that the only reference to translation services applies to the appearance of a US EPA witness, Spanish translation at the February 1, 2006, hearing will be provided only upon specific request made on or before January 27, 2006.

ORDER:

In the absence of sufficient cause being stated in the Request for Continuance, the Request is denied, and the hearing scheduled for February 1, 2006 shall proceed.



Dated: January 25, 2006

ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

_________signed________
JOSEPH DESMOND
Chairman



Mailed to List: POS


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