Notice of Complaint Proceeding and Order Establishing Scope of Proceeding and Setting Schedule
[California Energy Commission Letterhead]


Energy Resources
Conservation and Development Commission

COMPLAINT OF GARY LEDFORD ON        )      Docket No. 97-AFC-1
WATER ISSUES                        )





The High Desert Power Project (HDPP) consists of a 720-megawatt, natural-gas-fueled, combined cycle powerplant and related facilities. It is currently under construction in San Bernardino County, on the former George Air Force Base (now called the Southern California Logistics Airport) in the City of Victorville. The Commission granted the certificate for HDPP on May 3, 2000, and denied reconsideration of the certificate on June 21, 2000. The certificate contains many conditions that the applicant must meet.

On October 11, 2001, Mr. Gary A. Ledford, an Intervenor in the HDPP certification proceeding, filed a "Complaint CCR Title 20 Section 1231 [sic] To Compel Compliance of the California Energy Commission To Enforce Conditions of Certification in Final Order for 97-AFC-1" (Complaint)1. In this Notice and Order I provide notice of the proceeding that the Commission will undertake in response to the Complaint, establish the scope of the proceeding, and set a schedule for various events.3 I take those actions under the authority granted to the Commission's chairman by Section 1232 of the Commission's regulations (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 20, 1232.)3

In setting some of the issues raised by the Complaint for hearing, I am not, and the Commission is not, expressing any views on the merits of Mr. Ledford's claims. Rather, I am only making the judgment that Mr. Ledford's allegations, if proved, could demonstrate a violation of one or more of the conditions of certification that the Commission has adopted for HDPP. Mr. Ledford has the burden of persuading the Commission that the preponderance of the evidence supports his claims.


The Commission will consider whether Conditions 1.e., 2, 11, 12, 13, 17, and 19 in the HDPP Decision have been violated and if so, what action to take.4 The Complaint raises the following issues concerning those Conditions:

  1. HDPP's water treatment facilities are bigger than necessary for the powerplant, and additional water will be treated by those facilities for non-HDPP purposes (Conditions 1.e, 17(1), 19);

  2. HDPP is not using the proper type of water treatment facilities, and those facilities will fail to provide water "approaching background water quality levels" (Conditions 12, 13); and

  3. HDPP has failed to provide to the Commission various documents concerning water use and supply (Conditions 2, 11, 12, 17, 19).

The Commission will address the substantive merits of Conditions 12 and 13, even if the dates by which various documents are required by the Conditions to be submitted have not yet passed.

No other matters will be considered. In particular, the Commission will not consider claims of misfeasance by the Applicant, the Commission Staff, or others. The Complaint alleges no facts at all to support those claims.

The Commission will determine whether the listed Conditions have been violated and if so what action to take, including but not limited to imposing sanctions, requiring the HDPP owner to submit additional documents or obtain amendments to the certificate, or prohibiting construction or operation.


The Commission's Siting Committee shall conduct the proceeding, which shall include at least one evidentiary hearing, and shall make a recommendation for final Commission action. Interested persons should note that this is an adjudicatory proceeding; therefore, Section 1216 of the Commission's regulations and all other rules applicable to adjudicatory proceedings are in effect.

The following are designated as parties:

    COMPLAINANT:    Mr.Gary A. Ledford
	            The Jess Ranch
	            11401 Apple Valley Road
	            Apple Valley, California 92308

     RESPONDENT:    High Desert Power Project, LLC
                    Mr. Thomas M. Barnett, Vice President and Project Manager
                    3501 Jamboree Road
                    South Tower, Suite 606
                    Newport Beach, California 92660

                    California Energy Commission
                    1516 Ninth Street, MS 2
                    Sacramento, California 95814-5512

                    Caryn Holmes
                    California Energy Commission
                    1516 Ninth Street, MS 14
                    Sacramento, California 95814-5512

Mr. Ledford, the HDPP owner, and the Staff shall file and serve corrections to the information set forth above within one week of the date of this Notice and Order. Other individuals and entities may petition to intervene under Sections 1207 and 1235, as directed by the Siting Committee. The Commission encourages the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Victor Valley Water District, and the Mojave Water Agency to intervene.

Evidence (i.e., testimony and exhibits), comments, and arguments shall be filed as directed by the Siting Committee. All filings shall be clearly marked at the beginning with the Docket Number, 97-AFC-1-Complaint-1.


The Energy Commission's Public Adviser is available to assist the public on this proceeding. Members of the public may participate in a variety of ways. If you need information concerning public participation, please contact the Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, at (916) 654-4489 or, toll free at (800) 822-6228, or by e-mail at


The Executive Director shall ensure that this Notice and Order are provided to the Complainant, the Respondent, the Victor Valley Water District, the Mojave Water Agency, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, and other interested persons at least 30 days before the Siting Committee begins a hearing.



1Mr. Ledford owns the Jess Ranch, which was a party in litigation concerning its and others' rights to pump groundwater out of the Mojave Basin, which is where HDPP is located. (See City of Barstow v. Mojave Water Agency (2000) 23 Cal.4th 1224, 1230 [99 Cal.Rptr.2d 294, 297, 5 P.3d 853, 856].) HDPP will not use Mojave Basin groundwater for cooling; rather, it will use water imported from the State Water Project.

2Mr. Ledford has also filed a "Request for Investigation CCR Title 20 Section 1231 [sic] To Determine Whether Certification Was Granted Based on Applicant's Fraud; Perjured Testimony; Deceit; or Bad Faith" (Request) and a "Motion to Show Cause and Compel Compliance with Conditions" (Motion). Both cover the same issues raised in his Complaint. In the accompanying Order Dismissing The Request For Investigation and the Motion To Show Cause, I dismiss both the Request and the Motion.

3All section references are to the Commission's regulations in Title 20 of the California Code of Regulations, unless otherwise noted.

4In addition to the Conditions that the Commission will consider, the Complaint also alleges that Conditions 1.a. 1.d. and Condition 3 have been violated. The Commission will not consider Conditions 1.a., 1.b., 1.c., or 1.d. Those Conditions concern the sources of water that HDPP is allowed to use and is prohibited from using, and nothing in the Complaint suggests that any of those conditions are being violated. Allegations concerning Condition 3 are not ripe. That Condition requires the HDPP owner to submit to the CEC a copy of a "will serve" letter from the VVWD, before the start of commercial operation. (Commission Decision, High Desert Power Project, Docket Number 97-AFC-1 (May 2000) (hereafter HDPP Decision), p. 233.) Commercial operation has not yet started, so any potential violation is speculative. Finally, although the Complaint does not allege a violation of Condition 13, that Condition is closely related to Condition 12 and the parties should address it.


Dated November 9, 20001 at Sacramento, California.




William J. Keese

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