[California Energy Commission Letterhead]


Energy Resources
Conservation and Development Commission

In the Matter of: ) Docket No. 97-AFC-2




Application for Certification ) NOTICE OF ADDITIONAL EVIDENTIARY
for the Sutter Power Plant Project ) HEARINGS -and- HEARING ORDER
______________________________ ) REQUIRING SUPPLEMENTAL TESTIMONY


This Notice is to inform you that the Committee designated to conduct proceedings on the Application for Certification for the Sutter Power Plant Project will hold additional EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS as listed below:


TUESDAY, December 1, 1998
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. 9 a.m.
1425 Circle Drive
Yuba City, California
[Wheelchair Accessible]


THURSDAY, December 3, 1998
Beginning at 9 a.m.
1425 Circle Drive
Yuba City, California

*In addition to the daytime schedule, hearings
will be continued in the evening on Thursday, December 3rd, both days
beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the same location.

Members of the public and interested agencies are invited to attend all of the evidentiary hearings. Time will be reserved at each hearing to allow members of the public to comment. Such comments will be included in the record of both the state and federal agencies.

The Commission's Public Adviser, Roberta Mendonca, is available to assist interested individuals or groups and to provide information on participating at these hearings. She may be reached at (916) 654-4489 or, toll free, 1-800-822-6228 or E-mail: rmendonc@energy.state.ca.us

Technical questions concerning the project should be addressed to Paul Richins, the Commission's Project Manager, at (916) 654-4074 or E-mail: prichins@energy.state.ca.us Questions of a legal or procedural nature should be directed to Gary Fay, the Hearing Officer, at (916) 654-3965 or E-mail: gfay@energy.state.ca.us If you require special accommodations, contact Robert Sifuentes at 654-5004, five days prior to the meeting. Information about the project is available on the Energy Commission's web site at:


For information regarding the Federal process or the National Environmental Policy Act, please contact Loreen R. McMahon, Project Manager for Western Area Power Administration at (916) 353-4460. For information on the interconnection to Western's transmission system, please contact Morteza Sabet, Manager of Resources & Planning for Western Area Power Administration, at (916) 353-4489.


As the member of the Commission designated to conduct this proceeding, the Presiding Member is obligated to create a full and fair evidentiary record to inform the public and support the decisions of this Committee and eventually the full Commission. In this regard, certain topic areas require supplementation. The subject areas of concern are socioeconomics, land use, alternatives, and plant closure. In addition, the project description remains incomplete, in that the locations of transmission lines need to be identified. These locations in turn affect a number of technical areas. Therefore, the parties are directed to submit supplemental testimony as described below.

A. Alternatives

First, the Alternatives analysis contained in the Final Staff Assessment (FSA) will benefit from additional information quantifying the costs and benefits associated with the proposed project as compared to other alternatives. The existing analysis is primarily qualitative in nature. The criteria employed do not rely on quantifiable measurements of the real costs and benefits associated with each criterion. Instead, they are based on the applicant’s definition of the project’s objectives. This is especially true for the transmission line impacts. The monetary impacts caused to the agricultural economy (discussed below under socioeconomics) should be included in supplemental testimony, as well as the cost increases and savings associated with each project site and transmission route location.

Second, the qualitative analysis results in physical proximity being described as "closer" or "farther," rather than stating distances (in miles, feet, etc.) and stating what being closer or farther means. Actual measured distances will add necessary specificity.

Third, the proposed project’s impacts and/or benefits to the electrical system should be specifically addressed. Revising the analysis for the "no project" alternative could help remedy this. For example, all other alternatives might be measured against the "no project" alternatives, as well as the Applicant’s proposed project. The result desired by the Committee is a more specific comparison of the proposed project’s impacts with the impacts associated with other alternatives.

B. Land Use and the Project Alternatives

At present, the proposed site is zoned for agricultural use. However, the existing evidence is largely oriented toward an assumption that Sutter County will approve a general plan amendment and rezone of the proposed site. The testimony does not evaluate a scenario in which Sutter County denies the amendment and rezone.

Under this scenario, the conclusions of the Alternatives analysis would likely be different. Other alternative sites could then reduce any significant land use compatibility impacts.

C. Socioeconomics

The impacts on schools, the fire department, and other public services are analyzed in the evidence thusfar presented, and mitigation measures are described; however, the impact to the existing agricultural economy is not analyzed in depth. Two essential socioeconomic impact issues need further development: 1) the impact of the Sutter Power Project (SPP) on the local agricultural economy; and 2) the impact of the project on the value of property in the area. Supplemental testimony should directly address these two points, and include factors such as the potential for diminution of property values, increased costs to growers, and reduction in agricultural yield which may be caused by the project and its ancillary facilities.

Should resulting analysis of the socioeconomic impacts to the agricultural economy and/or property values conclude that there is a significant quantifiable impact, the supplemental testimony should also specify appropriate mitigation measures and/or available alternatives.

D. Plant Closure Fund

Supplemental testimony should analyze whether a plant closure fund in necessary for the project. Expert testimony on this subject should be included in the record.

E. Sequencing of Sutter County and Commission Decisions

In order to amend its general plan, the Sutter County Board of Supervisors has apparently determined that it will rely on the environmental analysis performed by the Commission. The Commission, in turn, is required to make findings that the project complies with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and standards. Without the proposed general plan amendment, the project would not comply with the general plan.

This situation creates a potential "catch 22" in which neither Sutter County nor the Commission can act without the prior action of the other. Several suggestions have been made to resolve this in a legal and workable manner. The Presiding Member directs that the parties address this matter at the evidentiary hearing on December 3, 1998.













MICHAL C. MOORE, Commissioner


Presiding Member

Mailed to List: 709


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Procedural Discussion
Beginning at 9 a.m. Need Conformance (Staff Witness)
  Land Use Discussion
  Visual Resources
  NEPA Comments
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1 Land Use Discussion
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Air Quality
  Public Health
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3   Supplemental Testimony on:
Beginning at 9 a.m. Facility Closure
Evening Session Socioeconomics
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Land Use (including Sutter County/California Energy Commission Sequencing questions)

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