Energy

The Oil Spill is Bad. So is the Deadly Contamination You Can’t See or Smell

October 20, 2021 by Source

by Bart Ziegler, PhD / Voice of OC / Oct. 20, 2021

On the topic of environmental disasters, could you imagine trying to deal with contamination from a far deadlier kind of waste that you can’t see or smell and that remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years?

As details of the Orange County oil spill continue to unfold, globs of tar are washing onto San Onofre State Beach beneath the shadow of a shuttered nuclear power plant where Southern California Edison is storing 3.6 million pounds of radioactive waste 100 feet from the ocean.

Reporting on the oil spill has us drawing comparisons and thinking about the state of nuclear waste safety.

Take corrosion, for instance.

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Investing in More Nuclear Power Is Not the Solution to Climate Crisis in Southern California

September 8, 2021 by Source

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been turned into a nuclear waste dump for the foreseeable future.

By Sarah Mosko / Times of San Diego / September 4, 2021

If you live in Orange or San Diego County, hopefully you’re aware that San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been turned into a nuclear waste dump for the foreseeable future. If you live on planet earth, you’re wise to be tracking domestic and foreign moves to increase reliance on nuclear energy.

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Hurricane Ida Forces Two Nuclear Plants in Louisiana to Shut Down or Reduce Power

September 3, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News August 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

On August 29, 2021, 16 years to the day when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and environs, Hurricane Ida made landfall twice as a Category 4 storm. Its 150 mph winds raced through the Crescent City, and up cancer alley, by Baton Rouge, an area replete with petrochemical facilities whose surrounding African American populations have high rates of serious health care problems in the best of times.

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Japan Goes Nuclear During Olympics

August 4, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry, in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Japan Goes Nuclear During Olympics

As Covid cases in Tokyo hit a record daily high of 4000+ (and rising) on July 31 , another perspective on the Covid Olympics appeared in a July 26 Reuters article, “Japan goes nuclear in bid to stay cool during Olympics.”

The article reported, “Japan has rebooted extra power plants, including a long dormant nuclear plant, and has taken other steps to avoid a power crisis as temperatures rise” as does the need for cooling, especially Tokyo,” where the games began on July 23.

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Nuclear Plant Shutdown During Another Power Crisis in Texas

July 6, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free future.

Nuclear Plant Shutdown During Another Power Crisis in Texas

Previously Nuclear Shutdown News reported on a nuclear plant shutdown in Texas last winter while arctic air descended on the Lone Star state, leaving millions without electricity, heat or water for weeks, and causing 200 deaths. Other state sources of electrical power, also overwhelmed by the frigid weather, also failed, but the shutdown of a 1000+ Megawatt reactor at the South Texas nuclear plant aggravated the crisis.

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Rally at City Hall to Demand Council Reject Proposed SDG&E Franchise Agreement – Friday, June 4

June 4, 2021 by Source

Today, Friday – with the sun directly overhead at noon – a coalition of different groups will be rallying to demand San Diego City Councilmembers reject the proposed SDG&G franchise agreement. The Council has a final vote on the 10-year contract on Tuesday, June 8. The initial vote in May approved the agreement, but a second vote is required.

The rally will be at City Hall, 202 C Street in downtown San Diego. The groups – which include public interest, racial justice, and environmental organizations – state:

The proposed franchise agreement would shackle residents and businesses in San Diego with the highest rates in the

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Legacy of Fukushima Disaster Haunts Olympics

June 2, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for June 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Legacy Of Fukushima Disaster Haunts Olympics

On March 25 CNN reported that the Olympic torch for this summer’s Olympic games in Japan was lit and then circulated by runners in Fukushima Prefecture, site of the March 20ll nuclear disaster.

Some of the runners were survivors of the catastrophe themselves, and some of those had lost family members back then.

The date of this event , almost 10 years to the day after the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, followed by the meltdown of three nuclear reactors

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3 San Diego City Councilmembers Outline Plan for ‘Energy Independence’

May 28, 2021 by Source

Three San Diego City Councilmembers have just released a joint statement about an “energy independence plan,” in response to the Council’s approval of Mayor Gloria’s push to renew franchise agreements with SDG&E on Tuesday, May 25. Two of the three opposed the approval.

Councilmembers Sean Elo-Rivera, Joe LaCava, and Monica Montgomery Steppe call for the creation of an “Energy Independence Fund” which would help pay “to exit our agreement with SDG&E” and “allow for energy independence.” The three also propose a “public power feasibility study” as”the next step toward developing alternatives to investor-owned utilities and will provide an analysis of the viability of municipalization for the City of San Diego.” LaCava and Montgomery Steppe voted against Gloria’s proposal.

Here is their statement:

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Challenges Seek to Overturn Council Vote on SDG&E Franchise Agreements

May 28, 2021 by Source

By Rob Nikolewskia / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 28, 2021

A pair of challenges have been made to the new franchise agreement between the city of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric, seeking to overturn the City Council’s 6-3 vote to approve the deal that will see the utility continue providing electric and gas service for the city for up to 20 years.

Normal Heights resident and environmental advocate Jay Powell says a provision in the new agreement violates the city charter and the local law firm of Aguirre & Severson has reiterated its complaint that the council should not have held the meeting in the first place, alleging a violation of the state’s open meetings laws.

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Sempra Greased the Skids for Gloria and Council Democrats to Approve SDG&E Franchise Agreement

May 27, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, a “super-majority” of members of the San Diego City Council voted to approve Mayor Gloria’s proposed franchise agreement with SDG&E.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Chris Cate, Raul Campillo, Marni von Wilpert and Sean Elo-Rivera voted in favor while Joe LaCava, Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery’ Steppe voted no. Campbell, Whitburn, Campillo and von Wilpert are Democrats and Cate is the lone Republican on the Council.

Curious as to whether SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra, gave campaign contributions to any of these Democrats, I dug around some. Didn’t have to go far. Matt Potter over at the San Diego Reader answered most of my questions in his December 21, 2020 piece, entitled, “Sempra’s last-minute money fueled anti-Bry hit campaign,” with a sub-head of “Tortured trail of Democrats’ campaign cash leads to SDG&E’s back door”.

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Majority of City Council Goes With the SDG&E Deal

May 26, 2021 by Source

Vote came after utility made additional commitments to city

By Rob Nikolewski / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 26, 2021

It was a close vote and required some additional financial concessions and commitments by San Diego Gas & Electric but the San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved a new electric and gas franchise agreement with the utility that can run as long as 20 years.

After a grueling session in which the outcome at times appeared uncertain, the council voted for a new deal on a 6-3 vote, just barely meeting the required two-thirds supermajority’ needed per the City Charter to finalize a new franchise agreement.

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City Council Must Go Bold and Not Take SDG&E’s Franchise Deal

May 25, 2021 by Source

By Bill Powers / Times of San Diego / May 23, 2021

We live in a period of unprecedented climate upheaval and economic inequality. Amidst this tumult, San Diego’s energy future is being decided. Will our city’s longtime energy provider, San Diego Gas & Electric, receive a pass to continue with business-as-usual for another generation, or will the city insist on terms that meet the challenges of our times?

SDG&E charges us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while actively undermining city efforts to deal with the climate crisis. San Diego is also in litigation with the utility over its failure to abide by the terms of its existing franchise agreements.

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Today, San Diego City Council Takes on Gloria’s Potential 20-Year Franchise Agreement With SDG&E

May 25, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Today, the San Diego City Council considers Mayor Gloria’s potential 20-year franchise agreement with SDG&E. This potential does not sit well with a whole lot of San Diegans.

Specifically, opponents of the deal are not at all happy with a provision that allows SDG&E to recover some of the payments the utility is proposing to make if the deal does not run its full term.

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San Diego City Council Should Deny SDG&E Franchise Agreements and Demand Public Power

May 24, 2021 by Source

By Craig D. Rose / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / May 21, 2021

While still early in its term, San Diego’s City Council will take a final exam next Tuesday. The test will include just one question:

Will you protect the citizens of San Diego against a utility intent on charging us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while the same company undermines efforts to deal with the climate crisis?

For the balance of this article, see link inside.

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Gloria Wants to Take the City for a Ride on the SDG&E Train

May 21, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

In San Diego’s continuing saga over who gets to be the franchise holder for the city’s electric and gas utilities, it is staggeringly clear now that Mayor Todd Gloria really wants SDG&E to stay. Gloria is pushing the city to get on board the SDG&E train for a ride.

He and City Attorney Mara Elliott have concluded “multiple rounds” of negotiations with SDG&E, formed a tentative agreement, and he is beginning to talk with the councilmembers about a new contract. Gloria claims his new deal is “certainly an improvement over the existing franchise agreement….” That’s not saying much.

Nothing is for certain. Gloria needs a “super-majority” of votes from the Council, six of the nine members.

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Environmental and Other Groups Push Council to Bar SDG&E From Bidding on New Utility Franchise Due to Breach of its Current Agreement

May 10, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

A coalition of sorts of a group of environmental and nonprofit groups want the San Diego City Council to bar SDG&E from bidding on any new utility franchise agreements. In a letter addressed to all Council members sent last week, the group is pushing the Council to hold a hearing to discuss whether the utility giant can be debarred from bidding.

The letter asks the Council to hold a Debarment Proceedings Against SDG&E as soon as possible. Items are placed on the Council docket by the council president, Jen Campbell, who has not committed at this point in doing so.

The groups state that since SDG&E has been in material breach of its current franchise agreement with the City, it cannot by law bid on any new agreements.

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Flawed Review Fails to Weaken the Case for Public Power in San Diego

May 10, 2021 by Source

by Bill Powers/ Times of San Diego / May 8, 2021

Point Loma Nazarene University’s Fermanian Business & Economic Institute on April 27 published a summary review of public power for San Diego. The review somehow concluded that San Diego transitioning to a nonprofit public utility would have an uncertain impact on rates and little impact on the city’s struggle to deal with climate change.

Unfortunately, the Fermanian review relies on misinformation, worst-case assumptions and omissions to make its case. The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce paid for the review. The chamber was the recipient of over $250,000 in dues and contributions from Sempra and its affiliate San Diego Gas & Electric in 2020. There is no mention

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SDG&E Is Providing Less Renewable Energy than Advertised

May 4, 2021 by Source

By MacKenzie Elmer / Voice of San Diego / May 3, 2021

Like a Nutrition Facts label listing the ingredients for the kind of energy powering your home, SDG&E’s latest Power Content Label shows the utility is providing less renewable energy than previously thought — and advertised by the utility.

That means SDG&E has a longer road ahead in reaching goals recently announced to drastically lower planet-warming gases the company’s products emit into the atmosphere.

The global economy has about a decade to drastically cut its use of fossil fuels

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New York Shutters Its Last Indian Point Nuke Reactor

May 3, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for May 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future.

New York Nuke’s Shutdown Marks Historic Milestone

By the time you read this it may have already happened. On the last day of April this year, the third and final reactor at the unfortunately named Indian Point nuclear plant will be permanently shut down. This plant is located on the Hudson River, just 36 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. Almost all of NYC is within 59 miles of IP.

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San Diego Creating Its Own Municipal Utility Opposed by All the Usual Suspects

April 29, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

It’s really no surprise that a study recently released by a business institute at Point Loma Nazarene has come out strongly opposed to the City of San Diego creating its own utility company, which would be then publicly-owned.

The study by Nazarene’s Fermanian Business & Economic Institute claims it would cost the city nearly $9 billion in taking over SDG&E’s assets – way too costly – and there would be no benefits to the process called “municipalization.” At a recent press conference, Nazarene chief economist Lynn Reaser and primary author of the study, stood outside a SDG&E substation. Reaser was joined by all the usual suspects:

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Franchise, Franchise – Who’s Got the Franchise?

April 27, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

There’s been a number of developments in San Diego’s efforts to sign a new franchise agreement for its gas and electric utilities.

As you may know, the city’s 100 years with the SDG&E has ended – there’s a temporary extension right now with the giant utility company that has had a virtual monopoly for a century with the fair city. And two mayors, Faulconer and Todd Gloria had tried to re-establish a utility franchise contract with SDG&E, only to be met with intransigence from city council members and those pesky ratepayers. And it turns out, after Gloria opened a second round of bidding for the franchise, once again, SDG&E was the sole bidder:

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Update on California’s 2 Remaining Nukes

April 1, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News April 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of nuclear power in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future.

Since I began writing Nuclear Shutdown News in 2014, I’ve learned that the No Nukes Movement resembles a woe-begone tale with more twists and turns than anyone would care to imagine.

The now outdated nuclear power technology began as the Atoms for Peace program following the mass nuclear destruction of multitudes of humans at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now nuke power freaks don’t seem to know how to give up the ghost.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better- or worse– than the current situation with California’s two remaining nukes, both overshadowed by the legacy of multiple meltdowns at Fukushima 10 years ago

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Lawsuit Alleges Mayor Gloria’s Bid Invite for City’s Utility Franchises Favors SDG&E and Violates City Charter

March 31, 2021 by Staff

A lawsuit filed by a long-time City Heights resident alleges that the recent invitation to bid on San Diego’s utility franchises by Mayor Todd Gloria favors SDG&E and actually violates the city charter.

Resident John Stump, an attorney, has initiated the lawsuit in which it’s alleged that Gloria’s bid process violates Section 103 of the charter, which requires a two-thirds vote of the City Council to approve a franchise agreement. Stump is represented by the prestigious law firm Aguirre & Severson (that’s Mike Aguirre – the former City Attorney for San Diego); the firm’s Maria Severson told the press that the invitation favors SDG&E.

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Mayor Gloria Opens Up Bidding for San Diego’s Utility Franchise Agreements

March 23, 2021 by Staff

Last Friday, March 19, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria opened up the bidding process for the city’s utility franchise agreements- the exclusive right to provide gas and electricity services to city residents and businesses.

Included among the terms for the invitations to bid is a 10-year period, plus an additional 10 years if the franchisee has been a good partner. Any new agreement would allow the franchisee to use the public right-of-way to install and maintain utility infrastructure, such as pipes, poles and wires.

Bids will be opened on April 16, after which the city may initiate negotiations with the responsive bidders, and tentatively, the franchises will be awarded in May.

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Deep Freeze Shut Down Texas Nuke

March 1, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Deep Freeze Shuts Down Texas Nuke

On February 15 the South Texas Project nuclear plant shut down after arctic weather descended on the region, Arctic Insights reported. A spokesperson for the plant said 1350 Megawatt reactor #1 shut down at 5:37 a.m.. The shutdown “resulted from a loss of feedwater attributed to cold-weather related failure of pressure sensing lines to feedwater pumps causing a false signal, which in turn caused the feedwater pump to trip (shut down).”

According to a February 16 Nuclear Regulatory Commission report, the shutdown was due to “low steam generator levels. The low levels in turn were due to loss of Feedwater pumps 11 and 13 (cause unknown).”

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Blaming the Wind for the Mess in Texas Is Painfully Absurd

February 19, 2021 by Source

By Bill McKibben / Reader Supported News – The New Yorker / February 18, 2021

Sometimes, all you need is a map. In the wake of this week’s power failures in Texas, which have left millions without heat in subfreezing conditions, right-wing politicians and news networks decided that the emergency was down to “frozen wind turbines,” a phrase that has now been repeated ad infinitum on all the various ganglia that make up the conservative “information” network.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which has managed to be wrong about energy and climate for more than four decades, put it like this:

“Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts Monday as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines.”

Governor Greg Abbott took time out from failing to deal with the emergency that had imperiled many in his state to tell Fox News that “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”

Not to be outdone, on Tuesday afternoon, Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Republican who represents Texas’s second congressional district, including parts of Houston, tweeted that “this is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.”

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City Council Okays Gloria’s 5-Month Extension With SDG&E

December 31, 2020 by Source

By Rob Nikolewski / San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 31, 2020

The San Diego City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal brought forth by Mayor Todd Gloria to extend the city’s existing franchise electric and gas agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric by an additional five months.

The extension, which runs through June 1, continues the terms of the current agreement that was set to expire Jan. 17 and is designed to give city officials more time to negotiate a new deal while clearing up uncertainty regarding the millions of dollars SDG&E pays to the city in franchise fees.

Gloria’s proposal to the council comes after the newly elected mayor and his staff negotiated with the utility over the Christmas holidays. On Tuesday, SDG&E’s board of directors agreed to add five months to the existing contract.

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Mayor Gloria Proposes 5 Month Extension With SDG&E – City Council Votes Today Wed.

December 30, 2020 by Source

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, Wed., Dec. 30, 2020

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has worked out a proposed extension of the city’s soon-to-expire franchise agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric that will add just over five months to the current deal — through June 1.

Gloria will present the proposed extension before the City Council in a special meeting scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“I urge the City Council to support it during their special meeting tomorrow,” Gloria said in a statement. “I thank SDG&E for working with me in a collaborative process.” In order for the proposed extension to go into effect, the city council has to approve it on a two-thirds vote — meaning at least six of the council’s nine members have to vote yes.

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With Just One Bid for Gas and Electricity, Advocates for Publicly-Owned Utility See Opening for San Diego

December 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Thursday, December 17, the San Diego City Council and Mayor Gloria opened the bids for the right to provide gas and electric services within the city limits and discovered that San Diego Gas & Electric was the only entity that placed a bid.

This does not mean that SDG&E will be able to continue with its century-long monopoly on the city’s power. Neither the Council nor the Mayor took any action.

Jessica Lawrence, Gloria’s director of policy, informed the Council the mayor’s staff would review the bids along with the City Attorney’s Office to determine whether the SDG&E bid has met all the requirements laid out by the city. His office will then consider what steps should be taken next. Lawrence said, “The mayor may reject (the bids), he may cancel the process entirely, he may make recommendations for award of any responsive bid.”

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New Mayor and Council to Review Bids for City’s Utility Franchise Thursday, Dec.17

December 16, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

This Thursday, December 17, newly-elected Mayor Todd Gloria and the newly-seated City Council will review just from whom and what bids have been made for San Diego’s electric and gas franchise agreements.

The Council will not be making any decisions, however, on granting any franchises. There is no vote – and the agenda item is listed solely as an “informational” one.

The old franchise agreements run out on January 17, 2021. They’ve been held, of course, by San Diego Gas & Electric. The current one was granted in 1970, and SDG&E had held the earlier 50-year agreement. So, that’s one hundred years that the company has had a monopoly here in San Diego. A lot of people think it’s time for a change, where the utility company with the franchise places the residents and businesses of the city at the top of whomever it serves – not its investors.

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