[California Energy Commission Letterhead]

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Energy Resources Conservation
and Development Commission





In the Matter of:                       )    Docket No. 99-AFC-1
                                        )
Application for Certification for the   )    COMMITTEE ORDER RE MAY 2,
Elk Hills Power Project (ELK HILLS)     )    2000, HEARING PREVIOUSLY
                                        )    SCHEDULED BY NOTICE DATED
________________________________________)    MARCH 27, 2000


I. BACKGROUND

On April 14, 2000, the Applicant filed a Motion to Close the Evidentiary Record on the subject of Soil and Water Resources. (1) On April 18, Staff filed a motion to strike. (2) These respective motions will be heard at the hearing on May 2, 2000.

On March 9, 2000, the Committee conducted evidentiary hearings on the topic of Soil and Water Resources. (3/9 RT 70:22-258:5; Exs. 1; § 5.4; 19A & B.) Before hearing testimony on the topic, the Applicant interposed a written objection (3) to testimony (4), which CURE filed prior to the scheduled hearing on Soil and Water Resources.

CURE's testimony through Dr. Fox sought to provide an analysis under State Water Resources Control Board Resolution 75-58. (SWRCBR 75-58. (5)) SWRCBR 75-58 establishes an order of priority for use of water sources for power plant cooling. The stated priorities are:

  1. wastewater being discharged to the ocean;

  2. ocean water;

  3. brackish water from natural sources or irrigation return flows,

  4. inland waste waters of low TDS; and

  5. other inland waters.


In addition, SWRCBR 75-58 states that fresh inland waters should only be used for power plant cooling if other sources or other methods of cooling would be environmentally undesirable or economically unsound. (Ex's. 19A, p. 2; Ex. 19B, pp. 4-5; 1, pp. 5.4-16-5.4-18; 39.)

Applicant and Staff both objected to CURE's SWRCBR 75-58 testimony on timeliness grounds. (3/9 RT 40:21-63:7.) CURE argued that the testimony was timely and, in fact, necessitated by Staff's filing a supplemental FSA (6), which dealt only in part with the issue of SWRCBR 75-58. (Ibid.) Thus, according to CURE, its SWRCBR 75-58 analysis was required to augment the record in view of Staff's supplemental filing. (Ibid.) (7)

At the March 9th evidentiary hearing, the Committee received oral argument on the Applicant's motion to strike testimony, and, after completion of argument, the Committee denied the motion. (3/9 RT 40:21-63:9.) The parties then provided further testimony on the topic of Water Resources, and specifically SWRCBR 75-58.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Committee requested that the parties brief the meaning of the term "economically unsound" in the context of wet versus dry cooling under an analysis of SWRCBR 75-58's applicability. (3/9 RT 249:4-258:5.) Subsequent to the hearing, in a telephone conference during the week of March 13, the parties and the Hearing Officer reached agreement on the briefing schedule, and one stipulation. (8) The parties have submitted timely briefs.

On March 27, 2000, the Committee reserved a tentative hearing date of May 2, 2000, for further testimony, if needed, on the issues surrounding SWRCBR 75-58. (9) On Thursday, April 20, the Hearing Officer confirmed that the hearing would be conducted on May 2; all parties were notified by electronic mail. The following Order addresses the pending motions, and establishes the schedule for further hearings on the applicability of SWRCBR 75-58.


II. COMMITTEE ORDER

The Committed rules as follows:

  1. SWRCBR 75-58 is one of the "relevant local, regional, state, and federal standards, ordinances, or laws" (LORS), which the Warren-Alquist Act requires the Commission to compile when certifying power plant applications. (Pub. Resources Code, § 25216.3.)

  2. SWRCBR 75-58 for this proceeding is one of the relevant LORS with which the project must conform to under the Warren-Alquist Act, which the Commission must follow when certifying power plant applications. (Pub. Resources Code, § 25523 (d).)

  3. As one of the relevant LORS, the analysis of water quality under the Warren-Alquist Act in this proceeding requires a conformity finding with SWRCBR 75-58, which requires a distinct and wholly separate analysis vis-a-vis a significant environmental impact finding pursuant to any CEQA analysis. (Pub. Resources Code, § 25523 (d).)

  4. Evidentiary hearings will resume on May 2, 2000, at 10:00 a.m. in the Commission's Hearing Room A, following the schedule provided in the Notice of Revised Schedule for Evidentiary Hearings [2nd] docketed on March 27, 2000.

  5. The parties shall present witnesses to support any offer of new testimony such as the Supplemental Testimony of Matthew S. Layton and Joseph O'Hagan, which was submitted as Attachment A to Staff's Opening Brief on Phase II Issues.

  6. The Applicant and Staff shall be prepared to provide oral argument on their respective motions.

  7. Staff shall provide for and sponsor the appearance of SWRCB Staff Member Sheila Vassey.

  8. Staff shall be prepared to sponsor Ms. Vassey's testimony within the scope of the matters submitted as Appendix B to the Supplemental Testimony of Matthew S. Layton and Joe O'Hagan dated April 4, 2000.

  9. CURE shall be prepared to offer witnesses in support of any proposed new SWRCBR 75-58 testimony.

Dated: April 21, 2000



ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION


MICHAL C. MOORE, Commissioner
Presiding Member
Elk Hills AFC Committee




ROBERT PERNELL, Commissioner
Associate Member
Elk Hills AFC Committee

Notes
  1. Motion to Close the Evidentiary Record, or in the Alternative, to Limit the Scope of Any Further Testimony or Hearing Concerning Water Resources, filed on April 14, 2000.

  2. Motion to Strike Portions of CURE's Reply Brief of Phase II Issues in the Elk Hills Power Project Application for Certification, filed on April 18, 2000.

  3. Motion to Deny Admission of Testimony, filed on March 8, 2000.

  4. Supplemental Testimony of Dr. J. Phyllis Fox that was submitted on CURE's behalf on the water impacts of the Elk Hills Power Project, filed on March 6, 2000. (Ex. 39.)

  5. The parties use the terms "Resolution" and "Policy" interchangeably.

  6. Supplemental Testimony of Joseph O'Hagan and Robert Anderson, dated March 2, 2000. (Ex. 19 B.)

  7. Both Applicant and Staff had reserved the right to file supplemental testimony once Staff provided its supplemental analysis. (3/9 RT 51:8-52:5.)

  8. The parties agreed that Applicant's exhibits offered at the evidentiary hearing on March 9 are deemed admitted.

  9. Notice of Revised Schedule [2nd], docketed on March 27, 2000.




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