[California Energy Commission Letterhead]  
 

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Energy Resources Conservation
and Development Commission

 
 
In the Matter of:
Application for Certification
for the Delta Energy Center
(Calpine Corporation and
Bechtel Enterprises, Inc.)
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Docket No. 98-AFC-3

ORDER DENYING INTERVENORS'
REQUESTS TO EXTEND SCHEDULE
and DIRECTING PARTIES TO
SUPPLY DATA RESPONSES



I. BACKGROUND

On September 13 and 15, 1999, Intervenors Community Health First (CHF) and Californians for Renewable Energy (CRE) filed separate requests to extend the schedule. On September 17th, the Committee issued an Order Directing Parties to File Responses to Intervenors' Motions to Extend Schedule. The Applicant, Staff and CURE filed timely responses opposing an extension of the schedule. Intervenors CHF and CRE also filed responses addressing the opposition to their requests for a schedule extension.

CHF requests a six-month schedule extension to review responses to its data requests and to provide time for a new air quality evaluation based on data that CHF believes would be more accurate.

CRE requests an additional 30 days to review the Final Staff Assessment (FSA), which was issued on September 10th, ten days ahead of the scheduled release date of September 20th. CRE asserts that the early release of the FSA is a procedural error that denies the Intervenor adequate time to prepare testimony. CRE is concerned with the air quality, public health, and alternatives analyses.


II. THE PARTIES' RESPONSES

Applicant. The Applicant contends that data requests filed by CHF have already been addressed. Applicant's representatives have offered to meet and discuss the relevant issues with CHF representatives, but CHF has declined the offer. The Applicant believes CHF is requesting additional time to review issues that have already been discussed and analyzed in public workshops during the discovery phase of the proceeding. According to the Applicant, CHF has not shown any compelling reason to revisit previously discussed matters. The Applicant also asserts that the early release of the FSA does not prejudice CRE; to the contrary, the early release provides an additional 10 days for the Intervenor to review the FSA and prepare testimony.

Staff. Staff argues that an extended schedule is not necessary because the FSA addresses many of the issues that have been raised by the Intervenors. Staff presented its Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) at public workshops attended by the Intervenors. According to Staff, the Intervenors did not offer comments at these workshops that would require a delay for further analysis. Staff is prepared to present its testimony based on the FSA and will be available for cross-examination by the Intervenors at the evidentiary hearings.

California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE). CURE, also an Intervenor in this proceeding, opposes the requests to extend the schedule. CURE asserts that the current schedule provides time for CHF to review responses to its data requests prior to submitting its testimony on air quality and public health. CURE disagrees with CRE's argument regarding the early release of the FSA because evidentiary hearings provide the opportunity to respond to the FSA and there is a 30-day comment period after release of the Presiding Member's Proposed Decision.


III. COMMITTEE ORDER

The Committee finds that the existing schedule provides adequate time for the Intervenors to review responses to their data requests and to prepare testimony and/or cross-examination at the evidentiary hearings. The Committee recognizes that the analyses and information contained in the Application for Certification (AFC) and in the FSA are highly technical in some instances. Both the Applicant's representatives and Staff have indicated their availability to explain these technical details. The Committee is constrained by the statutory directive to complete the certification review process in 12 months. The existing schedule attempts to balance the time necessary for the public to become informed about the project with the statutory directive to complete the process in a timely fashion.

Both Intervenors CHF and CRE have focused their concerns on the topics of air quality and public health. Staff's initial analyses on air quality and public health were released in its July 26th PSA. Public workshops on the PSA were conducted in the Pittsburg area in the months of August and September. The Intervenors had an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments during those workshops. The deadline for submitting written comments on the PSA (except for air quality and public health) was August 19th. A public workshop to consider comments on air quality and public health was conducted on September 8th, three weeks after the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) issued its Preliminary Determination of Compliance (PDOC).

Staff's supplemental testimony on air quality is scheduled for release on October 15th. Staff's supplemental air quality testimony will incorporate conditions proposed by BAAQMD in its Final Determination of Compliance (FDOC). The FDOC will be based on the PDOC, which was issued on August 18th and subject to a comment and review period that expired on September 24th.

Staff's testimony on public health was released in its September 10th FSA, which reflects the initial public health analysis contained in Staff's July 26th PSA. Intervenors CHF and CRE will have the opportunity to present testimony and cross-examine the Applicant's and Staff's witnesses on air quality and public health, including the methodology and relevance of the data supporting their testimony during evidentiary hearings.

With respect to CRE's concern about the alternatives analysis, the Commission has already determined that the standards for conducting an alternatives analysis in a siting case are consistent with the requirements established in the California Environmental Quality Act. [Commission Order No. 99-0623-2 (Order Denying Petition for Reconsideration; Sutter Power Plant Project)]. CRE has the opportunity to present testimony and cross-examine the Applicant and Staff on project alternatives during the evidentiary hearings.

In reviewing the schedule and finding that the preliminary air quality, public health, and alternatives analyses will have been available for comment and review for at least three months prior to evidentiary hearings on these topics, the Committee finds that neither Intervenor CHF nor CRE has presented compelling reasons to prolong the schedule.

Due to concern, however, that the air quality and public health topics may require extensive hearing time, the Committee has rescheduled the hearings on air quality and public health to Wednesday, November 3rd at 5:00 p.m. in the Pittsburg area. Hearings on the topics of biological resources and soil and water resources will remain on October 27th, along with any remaining issues related to land use. The start time on October 27th is changed to 7:30 p.m. The topic of socioeconomics will remain on the October 13th schedule; however, any remaining issues related to socioeconomics will be heard on November 3rd. The Committee will issue a separate notice on or before October 7th that revises the hearing schedule in accordance with these changes.

The separate requests to extend the schedule filed by Intervenors Community Health First and Californians for Renewable Energy are hereby denied.


IV. DATA RESPONSES

Many of the Intervenors' pending data requests reiterate issues that have been analyzed in the PSA and FSA. The Intervenors filed amended data requests on September 23rd and September 29th. To the extent that the data requests are relevant to the proceeding and not redundant, the parties that have access to the requested information shall respond in a timely manner and no later than October 15th. If there is objection to a data request, the party shall file such objection pursuant to the Commission's regulations. [Cal. Code of Regs., tit. 20, § 1716(e)]. The Committee directs Staff to supply the requested information to the Intervenors to the extent that the information is available to Staff. The deadline for filing data requests has expired. The parties shall petition the Committee if they wish to submit additional data requests. [Id., § 1716(h)].


Date On-line: October 4, 1999



[Signtaure]
WILLIAM J. KEESE
Presiding Member
Delta Energy AFC Committee
ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION


[Signtaure]
ROBERT PERNELL
Commissioner and Associate Member
Delta Energy AFC Committee




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