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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San Diego Shouldn’t Rush into Another Rip-Off Utility Franchise Deal

December 8, 2020 by Source

By Craig D. Rose / Times of San Diego / December 6, 2020

Mention “franchise,” “utility” and “agreement” in the same sentence and a listener’s eyes tend to roll backward.

That’s unfortunate.

If you care about San Diegans paying $100/month more for electricity than customers elsewhere, if you care about the climate crisis and racial equity, if you care about a city property worth more than $15 billion — you must pay attention to San Diego’s utility franchise agreement.

Years from now, San Diegans concerned with these issues will recall with gratitude that City Council President Georgette Gómez pulled the emergency cord on the runaway train to a deal that would have cost San Diegans billions of dollars.

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Earthquakes and Nukes

December 4, 2020 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 future.

Earthquakes & Nukes

When we think of earthquakes and nuclear plants in the US, it usually concerns shakers and nukes in California. In the 1980s, a mass antinuclear movement, The Abalone Alliance, waged a fierce battle against the construction of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on the central California coastline near San Luis Obispo.

Over a two week period in 1981, there were almost 2000 arrests of those committing civil disobedience in opposition to Diablo Canyon. One of the key issues in this struggle was concerns about building a nuke plant in an earthquake prone area.

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SDG&E Tries to Bully San Diego – Refuses to Negotiate Extension of Franchise Agreement

November 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

SDG&E is throwing its weight around and trying to bully San Diego. And in particular, it’s trying to bully Georgette Gomez, president of the city council.

In a letter sent to city officials Thursday, SDG&E – who has had a 100-year monopoly on our electricity and gas – said it would refuse to consider an extension to the franchise agreement for one year – something city officials are asking for in order to allow the new city council to have a say in all of it. The new city council – with 5 new members – is sworn in on December 10.

SDG&E senior vice president and general counsel Diana Day stated in the letter:

“We do not believe that a one-year extension is in the best interest of the City or San Diego electric and gas consumers.”

Setting aside the audaciousness of that statement,

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Council President Gomez Pushes Decision on Electric and Gas Franchise to the Next City Council

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City Councilmember Georgette Gomez – fresh off her defeat to Sara Jacobs for the 53rd Congressional District – is still Council President and on Monday, Gomez sent out a memo about the city’s electric and gas franchise that pleased many.

She announced that she will not place the franchise agreement on the council docket, which, significantly means the current council will not have a final decision on any agreement. The incoming council – with five new members – will rightly make the decision on the lucrative deal. The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Gomez:

“Granting these franchises is a momentous decision for the City Council that should not be rushed, especially when a new Council and a new Mayor are about to be inaugurated. Unfortunately, the ambitious timeline and process initially presented to the Council and the public was not followed and, at this juncture, this is the most appropriate path forward.”

Gómez also requested Mayor Kevin Faulconer to write up a one-year extension to the existing agreement , held by San Diego Gas & Electric and which ends in two months. SDG&E has had the monopoly for a century. The five new council members will be sworn into office December 10 – along with Mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

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Florida’s Crystal River Nuke Plant Shows Folly of Nuclear Power

November 9, 2020 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 who are working to create a nuclear free world.

We’ll use the case of the Crystal River nuke plant in Florida to illustrate the increasing folly of nuclear power.

The US introduced nuclear power to the US public as “too cheap to meter,” with the Atoms For Peace program in the 1950s, after the horrors of atomic weapons the US used to decimate the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was exposed. The federal government employed heavy subsidies and post WWII patriotic zeal to encourage reluctant electric utilities to begin building nuclear plants.

The Crystal River nuke plant began construction in the 1960s and its reactor began generating electricity in the 1970s.

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Mayor Faulconer to Add Two More Notches to His Legacy Belt

October 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has about six weeks left in his occupation of the mayor’s office. Either Bry or Gloria – both Democrats – will be sworn in on December 10. And Faulconer will leave his stint in city politics, which included being the head executive since he won that special election in February 2014 when Bob Filner resigned. Before that, Faulconer was the councilmember for District 2 – which includes Ocean Beach and most of Point Loma, of course – for 8 years.

Yet, he is too young to retire. And riding on the history that with Kevin as mayor, San Diego was the largest city in America with a Republican mayor, a future political office is not out of the question. In fact, there’s been all kinds of speculations that he was positioning himself to run for California governor. To do that, he needs a legacy –

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Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives

October 2, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown New October 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

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

Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives – A Case in Point

As reported in last month’s Nuclear Shutdown News, a violent storm damaged the Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa, and hastened its already scheduled permanent shutdown.

In the September 8 Des Moines Journal, Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project ( made the case that closing the plant will mean there will be less radioactivity caused diseases in surrounding areas.

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Mayor Faulconer’s Utility Franchise Plan Is a Multi-billion Dollar Giveaway

September 24, 2020 by Source

From Public Power San Diego

Mayor Faulconer’s last-minute decision to proceed with a new franchise agreement will result in a multi-billion dollar giveaway of a key City asset, at a time when the community is reeling from multiple crises and has failed to consider better options, Public Power San Diego (PPSD) said Wednesday, Sept 23.

“Everyone with eyes open sees tourism and other industries collapsing, with tens of thousands losing their jobs, all while the need to address the climate crisis grows ever more urgent,” said Craig Rose of Public Power San Diego, which advocates for the creation of a non-profit publicly owned utility.

“The City Council must insist on careful consideration of its options, including a public utility, instead of this giveaway that would lock us into paying the highest utility rates in California for 20 years.”

PPSD urges the city council to reject any franchise deal on the proposed terms and instead begin immediate planning and transition toward a public utility.

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Nukes, Storms and Hurricanes

September 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News September 2020

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 who are working to create a nuclear free world.

Midwest ‘Derecho’ Storm Forces Shutdown of Iowa Nuke Plant

On August 8, Nagasaki Day, a violent storm with hurricane force winds knocked out power at the Duane Arnold nuclear plant, 11 miles from Cedar Rapids, IA. The Star Tribune reported that the plant “lost connection with the electrical grid and declared an Unusual Event, the lowest of four kinds of nuke plant emergencies.”

“The loss of power triggered an automatic shutdown” of the plant’s reactor, the Star Tribune reported. “It also “damaged the plant’s cooling towers, which are used to cool steam after it emits from the plant’s turbine.”

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Blackout Blackmail Behind Mid-August Power Outages?

September 3, 2020 by Source

by Thomas D. Elias / The Coast News / September 2, 2020

Never before in California’s long experience with power blackouts have systematic, preplanned outages been as short as the 20-minute to 30-minute electric shutdowns inflicted on about 3 million homes and businesses around the state in mid-August.

Without doubt these blackouts were pre-planned. “(We will have) excessive weather conditions and a persistent shortage of electric supply for the California grid,” said a warning texted to electric customers hours ahead of the first outages.

There was a lot odd about this, aside from the short span of the blackouts. Gov. Gavin Newsom said later he didn’t learn of the shutdowns until just beforehand,

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Millions of Dollars in Criminal Conspiracies Keep Aging Nuke Plants Operating

August 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News August 2020

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.

Nuke Plant Multi-million Dollar Criminal Conspiracies Exposed

On July 23 Bloomberg News reported “Scandals taint efforts to save US nuclear plants.” The news service charged,” “Back to back scandals in Ohio and Illinois over the past week have given a black eye to efforts to prop up struggling US nuclear plants.”

As aging nuke plants continue to deteriorate and fail to make money, desperate utilities have been rolling out schemes to jack up prices on customers and funnel these ill gotten gains to corrupt politicos who further exploit the public to keep outdated nuclear plants spewing radioactivity into the environment from going under.

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3 Easy Ways to Influence Coastal Commission on San Onofre Nuclear Waste

July 9, 2020 by Source

From San Clemente Greens:

What could be worse than Global Pandemic, Climate Change and Socioeconomic upheaval?

Nuclear waste escaping containment all around the country if we fail to do something about it now, while we still can. Imagine getting through all of these tough challenges only to be undone when inescapable and everlasting radiation is allowed to contaminate our planet.

There’s still issues (and scandals) at San Onofre nuke plant.

So, here’s 3 easy things to do to influence the Coastal Commission on San Onofre nuke waste:

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