BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


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                                    THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 796
          Author:   Muratsuchi (D)
          Amended:  4/10/13 in Assembly
          Vote:     21

          AYES:  Padilla, Corbett, De León, DeSaulnier, Hill, Wolk
          NOES:  Fuller, Knight, Wright
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Cannella, Pavley

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  54-20, 5/23/13 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Energy:  thermal power plants:  certification:  sea  
          level rise

           SOURCE  :     Author

           DIGEST  :    This bill requires that the California Energy  
          Commission (CEC) consider the potential impacts and damage  
          caused by sea level rise, such as storm surges and flooding, in  
          the process of certifying a site.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1. Vests the CEC with exclusive certification jurisdiction over  
             thermal power plants with a generating capacity of 50  


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             megawatts (MW) or more, and any appurtenant facilities, and  
             permits a developer of a thermal power plant with a  
             generating capacity of less than 50 MW to voluntarily submit  
             to the CEC's exclusive certification jurisdiction.  The CEC  
             is also required to cooperate with the California Coastal  
             Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and  
             Development Commission in studying applications for sites  
             proposed to be located within the coastal zone, the Suisun  
             Marsh, or the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay  
             Conservation and Development Commission if requested by those  

          2. Mandates that applications for site certification include a  
             description of the design, construction and operation of the  
             proposed facility, safety and reliability information, site  
             information (e.g., geological, ecological, water supply,  
             etc.), fuel information, electric line information, and other  
             information deemed necessary by the CEC. 

          This bill requires that the CEC consider the potential impacts  
          and damage caused by sea level rise, such as storm surges and  
          flooding, in the process of certifying a site.

          The Pacific Institute published a research report in 2009,  
          funded in part by the CEC, regarding the impacts of sea level  
          rise on the California coastline.  Historically, the sea level  
          in the San Francisco Bay has risen 2.0 millimeters per year  
          between 1897 and 2006.  The research considered impacts of  
          medium levels of greenhouse gas emissions that predict a sea  
          level rise ranging from 1.0 to 1.4 meters between 2000 and 2100.  
           The author's office estimates that a 1.4 meter sea level rise  
          puts 480,000 people at higher risk of a 100-year flood event (an  
          event that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year).   
          They also estimate the costs related to property damage from  
          this flooding to be $100 billion (year 2000 dollars), whereas  
          the costs of protective seawalls and levees would be on the  
          order of $14 billion plus additional maintenance costs.  Even  
          regions that are not susceptible to flooding are still  
          susceptible to erosion processes.  

          There are currently procedures in place that establish the  
          review of facility impacts on the environment.  Most notably  



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          these are codified in the California Environmental Quality Act.   
          Furthermore, other legislation has established California's  
          goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (AB 32, 2006).   
          However, neither of these statutes contains provisions that  
          protect facilities from impacts of potential changes in the  

          The Department of Water Resources (DWR) Division of Flood  
          Management provides statewide flood forecasting and emergency  
          response activities.  The FloodSAFE California program  
          coordinates federal, state, and local officials in flood  
          management and emergency response systems throughout California.  
           The department produces "best available" maps of 100-year,  
          200-year, and 500-year floodplains, which are intended to inform  
          local districts for development planning purposes.  The Federal  
          Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also produces floodplain  
          maps, but only for 100-year flood events.  The maps developed by  
          the two agencies are not the same, and the National Flood  
          Insurance Program relies on data from FEMA maps.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  6/28/13)

          California Coastkeeper Alliance
          Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation
          Sierra Club California

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The California Coastkeeper Alliance  
          writes, "Currently, the California Energy Commission does not  
          take into account the impact of sea level rise during the  
          certification process of power plants.  Coastal regions are at  
          an ever increasing risk with ocean levels rising six to nine  
          inches over the past century.  A study led by the Pacific  
          Institute determined that sea-level rise poses a threat to  
          480,000 Californians as well as over $100 billion of property  
          damage, with power plants dangerously vulnerable if inadequately  
          sited.  As seen with hurricane Sandy, extremely severe weather  
          combined with high-tides and flash-floods can cause lasting  
          damage and displace millions of people.  With California's  
          coastal regions already at risk, immediate adaptation strategies  
          are necessary to evaluate and implement the proper siting of  



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          coastal power plants.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  54-20, 5/23/13
          AYES:  Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bloom, Blumenfield, Bocanegra,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian Calderon,  
            Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Cooley, Daly, Dickinson,  
            Eggman, Fong, Frazier, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Hall, Roger Hernández, Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Lowenthal,  
            Maienschein, Medina, Mitchell, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian,  
            Pan, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon,  
            Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Weber, Wieckowski, Williams,  
            Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Achadjian, Allen, Bigelow, Conway, Dahle, Donnelly, Fox,  
            Beth Gaines, Hagman, Harkey, Linder, Logue, Mansoor, Melendez,  
            Morrell, Nestande, Olsen, Patterson, Wagner, Wilk
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Grove, Holden, Jones, Waldron, Vacancy,  

          JG:d  7/1/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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