STATE OF CALIFORNIA
|APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION OF THE||)||DOCKET NO. 01-AFC-12|
|LOS ESTEROS CRITICAL ENERGY||)||APPLICATION COMPLETE|
|FACILITY (LOS ESTEROS)||)||SEPTEMBER 25, 2001|
By Order dated April 25, 2002, the Committee, inter alia, converted the Application for Certification (AFC) review process for the Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility (LECEF) from the four-month process established in Public Resources Code section 25552 to the 12-month process set forth in Public Resources Code section 25540.6. On Monday, May 20, 2002, the Committee conducted a supplemental Evidentiary Hearing, as noticed by our concurrent order and notice dated April 25, 2002.
The Committee expressed concern in these previous orders that the evidentiary record was incomplete. Our review of the record was burdened by a staff assessment that was internally inconsistent with respect to the proposed project's construction timeline. This confusion stemmed from information contained in the AFC that was unclear as to the construction schedule. We suspect that public participants and others reviewing these documents were similarly burdened.
As we pointed out in our removal order, we were troubled by the internal inconsistency in the Applicant's documents and the staff's analysis. We also were troubled by the lack of clear evidence regarding certain impacts associated with the construction and operation of the LECEF. Based upon the currently augmented record, we now know the earlier evidence regarding the construction schedule reflected erroneous underlying assumptions and a miscommunication of the project's parameters.
In a related issue, the Committee continues to interpret Public Resources Code section 25552 in a manner that would require it to make specific findings on at least nine requirements including a requirement that the project demonstrate that it remains likely to be in service by December 31, 2002. Had Staff and Applicant given more attention to the details of their testimonial submissions to the Committee, valuable time could have been saved that was otherwise expended on ultimately unnecessary argument.
After hearing the additional testimony on May 20, 2002, and after reviewing the documentary evidence and the record as a whole, the Committee sets forth the following Order.
Applicant has carried its burden and persuasively demonstrated that the LECEF remains likely to be in service by December 31, 2002. Moreover, the record, as augmented by evidence presented at the May 20 supplemental hearing, appears to support a finding that Applicant has carried its burden pursuant to the mandate of Public Resources Code section 25552. Therefore, we hereby rescind our April 25 removal order and return LECEF to the four-month process. Our Presiding Member's Proposed Decision, which we will release shortly, will reflect the Committee's recommendation to the full Commission in this regard.
Dated May 23, 2002, in Sacramento, California.