STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Conservation and Development Commission
In the Matter of: ) Docket No. 97-AFC-1 ) Application for Certification ) ORDER DIRECTING for the High Desert Power Project ) CLARIFICATION ___________________________________)
On July 8, 1998, Applicant submitted a "Project Status and Update Report" (Status Report) accompanied by a "Request for Committee Staff Guidance" (Request for Guidance). The latter document was directed to the Energy Facility Siting Committee, which is distinct from the High Desert Power Project Committee.
Both the Status Report and the Request for Guidance raise concerns over Staff's apparent position on certain air quality issues. Specifically, Applicant notes that the May 15, 1998 Preliminary Staff Assessment states, at page 46:
Prior to Staff's preparation of the FSA [Final Staff Assessment], the applicant will need to identify and secure specific emission offsets and mitigation measures that they have proposed.
The Energy Facility Siting Committee has taken the matters contained in Applicant's "Request for Guidance" under advisement. We, however, as the presiding Committee on the High Desert Power Project, believe there are certain ambiguities which must be clarified concerning Staff's position on the topic of air quality in general, and regarding the timing of the "securing" of ERCs in particular. We believe these clarifications will benefit both our project Committee and the Energy Facility Siting Committee should it choose to address Applicant's concerns.
Therefore, Staff shall, and other parties may, respond to the following questions. Responses must be served and docketed no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5, 1998.
A. What is Staff's position concerning identifying and securing ERCs in the High Desert case?
1. Specifically, does Staff contend that ERCs must actually be purchased prior to preparation of the air quality portion of the FSA?
a. If so, why and on what basis?B. Does Staff contend that ERCs must be purchased prior to the conclusion of the Commission's licensing process (e.g. pre-FSA, pre-Final Determination of Compliance, pre-evidentiary hearing, pre-Final Decision, etc.)?
b. Are there other arrangements other than actual purchase which, in Staff's view, would indicate that ERCs have been identified and secured?
c. If there are such other arrangements, indicate what these arrangements are and define what is meant by each (e.g. options, binding contracts, letters of intent, etc.).
d. Explain any differences which may exist between each of these other arrangements and the actual purchase of ERCs.
1. If so, specify at what point and the authority supporting this position.C. Is Staff's position in the High Desert case consistent with the requirements imposed by the Commission in previous recent Application for Certification decisions? In responding, verify the requirements imposed in the cases mentioned in the July 8, 1998 Status Report Number 6, among others.
2. If not, at what point must ERCs be purchased (e.g. pre-Authority to Construct, pre-construction, pre-operation, etc)?
D. What criteria are Staff using to implement the existing Commission policies concerning ERCs in this case?
E. What is the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) current interpretation of federal law as it pertains to the timing of obtaining ERCs and the nature of the arrangement by which ERCs are identified and secured?
F. Are Commission requirements consistent with federal requirements as interpreted by USEPA?
1. If so, explain.
2. If not, explain the nature of any differences and the reasons therefor.
Dated: July 20,1998
ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
JANANNE SHARPLESS, Commissioner
ROBERT A. LAURIE, Commissioner