November 12, 1998
Andrew Barnsdale, Project Manager
c/o Environmental Science Associates
225 Bush Street, Suite 1700
San Francisco, CA 94104
COMMENTS TO INITIAL STUDY – SDG&E DIVESTITURE OF ASSETS SENT BY FASCIMILE TO (415) 896-0332
The City of Carlsbad has completed its review of the Initial Study for the SDG&E mandated divestiture of assets which includes the Encina Power Plant adjacent to Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The Initial Study has a public review period that started on October 13, 1998, and ends on November 12, 1998. The following represents the City of Carlsbad’s comments based on the review of the Initial Study document.
Overall Project Description Comment[Begin G1]
The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Local Coastal Program (LCP) covers the area around Agua Hedionda including the SDG&E properties. The LCP for Agua Hedionda requires certain environmental conditions (such as the provision of public access and environmental buffers) to be in place. The current configuration of lot lines on SDG&E property needs revision to accommodate the divestiture. Subdivision of the property in a certain manner may prevent those environmental conditions from being in place and in turn may prevent the implementation of LCP mandated amenities and features. A complete project description of the Encina Power Plant divestiture would include the need to create legal parcels and corresponding lot line adjustments/ subdivision of land. SDG&E has no right to sell the land in its existing configuration and any sale without creation of legal lots would be in violation of law. Such a lot line adjustment/ subdivision would be processed by the City and raises the following concerns: (1) existing inconsistencies on the SDG&E properties between zoning and General Plan designations; the significance of the inconsistencies are increased given the fact that the SDG&E Power Plant has not processed a Precise Development Plan as currently required by the zoning ordinance; (2) environmental review would need to be performed on the proposed lot split/lot line adjustments; and, (3) an assessment of land use compatibility. Given the fact that the initial study does not identify and address the required legal lots needed to effectuate the divestiture of Encina and the associated environmental impacts of said subdivision, the City believes that the project description and environmental analysis is deficient.
Biological Resources[Begin G2]
1. The requirement for a "written commitment" that the new property owner will adhere to non-transferable, interim resource agency permits and conditions (Mitigation Measure 4.7.a.1) should be augmented with written confirmation by affected resource agencies that existing enforcement and permit violation processes are adequate to allow such interim permits to remain valid.
Cultural Resources[Begin G3]
1. The City has Cultural Resource Guidelines (dated December 1990) which should be referenced for compliance by the Mitigated Negative Declaration. The Guidelines provide the local procedures for investigating and recovering cultural resource sites.
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2. The City feels that an initial archeology survey for all SDG&E properties should have been incorporated into the Initial Study. That way the mitigation measures proposed would have the benefit of knowing the required level of site recovery/assessment that is needed to avoid significant impacts. Furthermore, the City feels that the proposed mitigation measures for Cultural Resource impacts are inadequate without a baseline archaeological survey being completed. The Initial Study also states that other archaeological sites may exist and be uncovered during grading work with an archaeologist/grading monitor being involved. The full scope of on-site archaeological/cultural resources needs to be known before a mitigation program can be prepared in the context of a Mitigated Negative Declaration.
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3. A specific mitigation measure should be the requirement for a City issued grading permit for any earth-moving, grading, soil remediation work, etc. Such a grading permit would then be subject to local level environmental review.
1. The City believes that several assumptions used in the "2005 Cumulative Analytical Maximum Scenarios" (the 2005 scenarios) are inaccurate and unrealistic.[Begin G6]
a) Both Variants 1 and 2 assume an increase in the power importation capacity of the San Diego Area of 400 MW above the 1999 importation capacity. It seems very likely that a project of this magnitude can be permitted and constructed by 2005.
i) The Mitigated Negative Declaration should provide details explaining how such a project can be completed within this time period.
ii) Both Variants 1 and 2 should be re-calculated without assuming any increase in transmission capacity. It is our belief that the net impact of removing the increased transmission capacity would be to increase the air emission in both Variants.
b) Variants 1 and 2 assume that one or both of the Encina or the South Bay plants will be retrofitted with SCR technology. The City questions whether this assumption is realistic.
It is our understanding that it will cost approximately $40M and $50M to retrofit South Bay and Encina plants respectively with SCR. Under Variant 2, it does not seem realistic to assume that a new owner would 1) pay a large sum of money to purchase the South Bay facility, 2) spend an additional $40M to retrofit the facility with SCR by 2001, 3) spend hundreds of millions of dollars more to build a new facility, and then 4) shut down the South Bay facility in 2005.
[End G7][Begin G8]
Furthermore, it does not seem economically realistic to assume that anyone can satisfy Rule 69 as it currently exists and also replace an existing facility with a new facility. It is not practical to assume that anyone would spend $40M in 2000 and then stop operating a facility in 2005. In order for anyone to shut down either of the two facilities and replace them with a new facility, it seems that Rule 69 will need to be amended to allow a new owner to operate the current facilities without spending any money while a new plant is constructed. If the Mitigated Negative Declaration is going to assume that Encina and/or South Bay are operated until a replacement plant becomes operational, then it must also address the issue of whether Rule 69 would need to be changed.
[End G8][Begin G9]
2. Rule 69 requires the current owners of the Encina and South Bay plants to cap their cumulative emissions to 2100 tons/year after January 1, 1997, to 800 tons/year after January 1, 2001, and to 650 tons/year after January 1, 2005. The Mitigated Negative Declaration should calculate baseline and analytical maximum scenarios for all three years (not just 1999 and 2005) and should assess whether the increase in emissions warrant a finding of significant environmental impact for all three years.
3. Variant 2 of the Mitigated Negative Declaration projects 988 tons of NOx per year, a 338 ton per year increase above the 650 NOx ton/year baseline that is required in Rule 69. Page 4.5-38 then states that the 2005 cumulative impact is not considered significant for three reasons. The City disagrees with all three reasons and believes that the increase in emissions is significant.
a) The first reason given in the Mitigated Negative Declaration relies on "potential inconsistencies with emissions forecasts" and then states that the 338 NOx tons of excess emissions is an order to magnitude less than the projected 1999 baseline of 3,264 NOx tons. The City believes it is inappropriate, when making a determination of significance, to compare the 2005 excess emissions to the 1999 projected baseline. The correct comparison would be to recognize that the 988 tons of NOx emissions under Variant 2 exceed the 650 NOx ton baseline by 52%.
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b) The second reason relies on the possibility that the actual number may be lower based on the technology requirements of LAER. The EPA LAER levels which have recently been changed should already be reflected in the modeling. If they are not, then the scenarios should be recalculated. Furthermore, relying on possible future technology changes should not be relied upon to justify a 52% increase in emissions.
[End G11][Begin G12]
c) The third reason states that SDAPCD could implement more stringent controls in the future. Significance should be determined based on current regulatory requirements. While more stringent controls are possible, this does not justify finding that a 52% increase in emissions should not be considered significant.
[End G12][Begin G13]
4. It is our understanding that one of the criteria that is used to determine whether or not a project is deemed to have a significant environmental impact is whether or not the project produces emission levels that are inconsistent with regional air quality plans. Rule 69 caps power plant emissions in San Diego to 650 tons on NOx per year, and the City assumes that this level is included in the SDAPCD’s regional plan. The City believes that Variant 2, which shows an increase of NOx emissions by 52%, is inconsistent with the regional air quality plan, and therefore the Variant should be deemed to have a significant impact.
Quality of Environment[Begin G14]
1. A suggested mitigation measure for Quality of the Environment would be required City consultation/partnership for seasonal dredged sand placement efforts.
If you have any questions regarding the City’s comment to the Initial Study, please contact Eric Munoz, Senior Planner at (760) 438-1161, extension 4441 or me at (760) 438-1161, extension 4430.
MICHAEL J. HOLZMILLER
c: Ray Patchett, City Manager
Marty Orenyak, Community Development Director
Jan Mobaldi, Assistant City Attorney
Don Rideout, Principal Planner
Eric Munoz, Senior Planner
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