|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|
I. NOTICE OF EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS
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:
NOTE TIME CHANGES
TUESDAY, December 1, 1998
6:30 p.m.9 a.m.
VETERANS MEMORIAL COMMUNITY BUILDING
1425 Circle Drive
Yuba City, California
THURSDAY, December 3, 1998
Beginning at 9 a.m.
VETERANS MEMORIAL COMMUNITY BUILDING
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical questions concerning the project should be addressed to Paul Richins, the Commission's Project Manager, at (916) 654-4074 or E-mail: email@example.com Questions of a legal or procedural nature should be directed to Gary Fay, the Hearing Officer, at (916) 654-3965 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
II. HEARING ORDER REQUIRING SUPPLEMENTAL TESTIMONY
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.
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 applicants definition of the projects 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 projects 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 Applicants proposed project. The result desired by the Committee is a more specific comparison of the proposed projects 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.
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.
Dated: ENERGY RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
MICHAL C. MOORE, Commissioner
Mailed to List: 709
REVISED SCHEDULE for TOPIC PRESENTATIONS
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) Alternatives
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