California Lawmakers Try To Shoot Down $400 Million Plan For Higher Energy Bills

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s plans may have to take a backseat, as a group of lawmakers are moving behind the scenes to cancel some of his most expensive policies for the state.

Lawmakers Challenge Newsom’s Policies

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On Thursday, California state lawmakers made a surprise move to cancel a $400 million loan intended to keep Diablo Canyon, the state’s last nuclear power plant, running. 

Diablo Canyon’s Future in Jeopardy

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This decision has pitted them directly against Governor Gavin Newsom, who has gone all in on extending the plant’s life to keep the lights on as climate change heats up.

Lawmakers Draw a Line in Budget Talks

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The votes from the Senate and Assembly are just the latest twist in the ongoing budget talks. Newsom has been pushing hard to keep Diablo Canyon running, arguing that it is vital for preventing blackouts across the state as they shift towards renewable energy sources.

Potential Public Confrontation with Newsom

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But after months of debate, lawmakers have finally drawn a line in the sand – a battle line. This move could set the stage for one of the biggest public confrontations against Newsom that the state has ever seen.

Negotiations Ongoing 

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H.D. Palmer, spokesperson from the California Department of Finance, explained that talks are ongoing and that these legislative votes don’t mean lawmakers have struck a deal with the governor. As he put it, it’s more like an “agreement between the Senate and the Assembly – not an agreement with the governor.”

Rising Cost Estimates for Diablo Canyon

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One key factor that is causing lawmakers to rebel is the skyrocketing cost estimates. When the project was first proposed, estimates put the running costs at $5.2 billion for the first five years. 

Environmentalists Warn of Doubling Costs

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Now environmentalists and anti-nuclear activists have warned the price tag for keeping Diablo Canyon open has nearly doubled – hitting almost $12 billion. 

Former Energy Commission Member’s Shock

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“It’s really quite shocking,” said John Geesman, former California Energy Commission member and representative of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, a group fighting against the plant’s federal license renewals.

Concerns Over Higher Energy Bills

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This massive figure has many California residents worried about higher energy bills. For their part, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) – the company running the plant – argues that these new numbers are inaccurate and inflated.

PG&E Disputes Cost Estimates

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PG&E spokesperson Suzanne Hosn says the $12 billion figure includes unrelated costs and claims the real expense is around $8.3 billion. She insists the benefits outweigh the costs.

Historical Controversy of Diablo Canyon

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Diablo Canyon, which sits on a bluff between L.A. and San Francisco, has been controversial since it started operating in the mid-80s. As nuclear power makes a potential comeback in the fight against global warming, this plant has become a hot topic. 

Scrapped Shutdown Plan in 2022

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In 2016, Diablo Canyon was set to shut by 2025, after a years-long running dialogue by PG&E, environmentalists, and unions. But that plan was scrapped in 2022 when Newsom argued that the plant was needed to prevent blackouts. 

$1.4 Billion State Loan to PG&E

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Newsom’s new agreement came with a $1.4 billion state loan to PG&E, which aimed to keep the plant running until at least 2030.

Diablo Canyon’s Electricity Contribution

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Diablo Canyon currently produces up to 9% of California’s electricity, but nuclear power leaves behind radioactive waste, which has become a matter of concern for many environmentalists – despite scientists claiming nuclear energy is cleaner than fossil fuels.

Revival of the U.S. Nuclear Industry

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The U.S. nuclear industry is currently seeing a revival. Georgia has just finished building two new reactors at Plant Vogtle at a cost of around $35 billion. Businessman Bill Gates is getting in on the action, building a “next-generation” nuclear plant in Wyoming that he claims will revolutionize power.

California’s $45 Billion Budget Deficit

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California is struggling with a $45 billion budget deficit, and lawmakers are worried about the financial risks of approving such a huge loan. 

Worries About The Taxpayer

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They’re concerned that PG&E could default on the loan and are worried about the financial impact that it would have on California’s taxpayers.

Earthquake Fault Discovered in 2008

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Construction of Diablo Canyon began in the 1960s, but critics argue that huge risks were consistently underestimated. A fault discovered in 2008 has intensified fears that an earthquake could damage the plant and release radiation. 

Safety Assurances from PG&E and NRC

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Despite these concerns, PG&E insists that the plant is safe, a position backed up by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Environmental Groups Call for Reactor Shutdown

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Last year, environmental groups called for an immediate shutdown of one of the plant’s reactors, fearing critical equipment could fail. The NRC didn’t take immediate action but promised a review into the reactor.

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The post California Lawmakers Try To Shoot Down $400 Million Plan For Higher Energy Bills first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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