September 25, 1997

Bruce Kaneshiro, Project Manager
Environmental Science Associates
225 Bush Street, Suite 1700
San Francisco, California 94101
By Facsimile: (415) 896-0332

Regarding: Mitigated Negative Declaration/Power Plant Divestitures

Dear Mr. Kaneshiro:

[Begin CCC-1]
As a responsible agency under the California Environmental Quality act, we write to express our disappointment that an Environmental Impact Report is not being prepared for this project. We have commented previously that we do not believe an adequate project description has yet been prepared and that there appear to be potentially significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed divestitures that cannot be mitigated to less than significant levels.
[End CCC-1]

[Begin CCC-2]
To date, we find no evidence that the implications for eventual abandonment of these plants has been addressed. The cessation of CPUC-regulation of the abandonment process raises questions of eventual financial responsibility and the imposition of adequate cleanup standards. The divestiture implies that the useful lives of these plants will be extended beyond the horizon that would likely have been considered (or possibly allowed) under present ownership and, unfortunately, we find that the Mitigated Negative Declaration begs to question of the implications of delayed remediation of highly contaminated power plant sites.
[End CCC-2]

[Begin CCC-3]
Similarly, we believe the air quality impacts of prolonged use of aging plants qualify as Class 1 impacts under CEQA. Therefore, the baseline comparison should weigh the air emissions produced by continued use of these plants after the expiration of their planned useful lives, against the elimination of these emissions that would otherwise occur. We believe or previously submitted comments about retrofitting plants as a condition of sale, and particularly the question of whether the existing stacks could be removed and replaced by other pollution control technology, has not been evaluated. We are concerned that these issues, and other raised in our July 15, 1997 letter, will not be addressed in the Mitigated Negative Declaration.
[End CCC-3]

Please feel free to contact me at (415) 904-5247 if you have questions about this letter.


Melanie Hale
Coastal Program Analyst