State Of California The Resources Agency Of California


M e m o r a n d u m
      Date: April 9, 1998
      Telephone ATSS( )

To: Energy Facility Siting Committee
    Michal C. Moore, Presiding Member
    William J. Keese, Associate


From:   California Energy Commission  PAUL RICHINS, Jr., Project Manager
        EFS &EPD



Subject: APRIL 15, 1998, SUTTER POWER PROJECT STATUS REPORT


Since the March 3, 1998, Informational Hearing, staff has conducted two workshops in Yuba City to discuss the concerns of the public, as voiced at the Informational Hearing as well as issues identified in staff's Sutter Power Project Issue Identification Report (dated February 11, 1998). The workshops included discussions and considerable public input on a variety of topics--hazardous materials handling, visual resources, transmission line safety and nuisance, aviation safety, aerial agricultural operations, alternative transmission routes, alternative power plant sites, air quality, water quality, ground water pumping and impact to nearby wells, drainage concerns, water supply options, water disposal options, public health and biological resources. Both workshops were well attended. About 20 to 30 local citizens attended each. In addition, Sutter County Supervisors, and staff from Sutter County Planning and Public Works, Western Area Power Administration, Yuba City Sanitation Department, State Department of Fish and Game, California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), Feather River Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Urban Water Users Agency and Contra Costa Water Agency were also in attendance.

As a result of public and local, state and federal agency comments and a review of the data responses, it was mutually agreed that Calpine would provide some additional information and analysis. A letter was sent to Calpine on April 7, 1998 identifying data requests numbers 60-68. Most of this additional information will be provided by April 15, 1998 with the remainder on May 1, 1998. It is anticipated that another workshop on water, drainage, transmission lines and biological resources may be held in early to mid-May.

Regarding the project schedule, we still plan to publish the Preliminary Staff Assessment by July 1, 1998, and the Final Staff Assessment by August 27, 1998, as proposed in the suggested schedule contained in the Issue Identification Report.

Below is a summary status of the significant issues currently being addressed by the public, local, state, federal agencies and Energy Commission staff.

Air Quality: The issue of best available control technology (BACT) is still unresolved. Calpine has proposed a BACT level of 3.5 parts per million (ppm). The U.S. EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) position on BACT is unclear at this time as they are considering levels in the 2.5 ppm range. It is our understanding that the Feather River Air Quality Management District will be issuing a preliminary draft decision on Calpine's application as a way of securing input from EPA and CARB in a timely manner. Feather River Air Quality Management District anticipates issuing this preliminary finding in the very near future.

In regards to air quality offsets, Calpine still plans to have their offset package completed by the end of May. This is consistent with the schedule contained in the March 17, 1998 order.

Biological Resources: The request for the biological opinion and the Section 7 endangered species consultation has been made of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was invited but did not attend the biological and water resources workshop conducted on March 31, 1998. They seem to be uninterested in our efforts to get them involved early in the process. This is an area of concern for the schedule. We will continue to work with them to accomplish a timely review.

Bird flight diverters are being considered and recommend by staff as a method for reducing water fowl collisions with the transmission lines. We are working with Western to secure their support.

Transmission System Engineering: Staff is continuing to work with Western Area Power Administration on the timely filing of the final interconnection study. The stability analysis has been received from Western and the final interconnection study is expected by June 30, 1998.

Visual Resources and Agricultural Impacts: There continues to be concerns expressed by a few residents regarding the visual aspects of the transmission line as well as impacts to aerial agricultural applications. Staff also has concerns regarding the potential of a sizeable cooling tower vapor plume and is monitoring the SMUD Campbell Soup and Procter and Gamble projects for plume formation. We are continuing to analyze these concerns and will be contacting commercial aerial applicators to better determine the impacts to agricultural operations.

Water Resources: Calpine will be providing additional information and analysis on water quality, temperature, drainage and groundwater impacts associated with their use of ground water. Additional comments on Calpine's proposed water quality and temperature modeling assumptions and protocol are due from interested public, and state, local and federal agencies by April 15, 1998.

At the March 31st workshop, Sutter County Public Works provided an overview on the county's plans and progress towards completing a master drainage plan for the area. Localized flooding and drainage issues are a major concern to the residents and farmers. The presentation and information on the master drainage plan was well received by those in attendance. The Sutter Project, as well as future growth in the area, will be included in the master plan. An additional report and discussion from Public Works may be included in our next workshop.

Under separate cover, staff will file its brief on decommissioning/closure and Western/Independent System Operator policy issues identified in the scheduling order.

cc:
Sutter Power Project Proof of Service List
Ray Menebroker, ARB
Richard Corey, ARB
Ken Corbin, APCO Feather River AQMD
Matt Haber, U.S. EPA
George Carpenter, Sutter County





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