Water Board Takes Action to Support Clean Power
On December 14th, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) considered and rejected amendments to the state's May 2010 final state Policy that guides compliance with the Clean Water Act’s mandated controls on coastal power plant cooling systems. Nineteen California coastal and Delta power plants use World-War II-era, “once-through cooling” (OTC) systems that pull in up to 16 billion gallons of coastal and Delta waters every year, killing marine life pulled into the plant and destroying many species caught on the plants’ screens. The 12 Southern California plants kill up to 30% of the number of fish recreationally caught off the Southern California coast each year. The Board’s Policy was based on five years of extensive public process involving regulatory agencies, power plant operators, and a coalition of conservation, fishing, and environmental justice groups. The Office of Administrative Law approved the Policy as final regulation October 1. Read CCKA's guide to the Policy.
The SWRCB re-opened the Policy for amendments after complaints by members of the regulated community, some of whom attempted to undermine the Policy through last-minute legislation. CCKA and its partners submitted a joint NGO letter on the re-opened Policy and testified at the December 14th hearing. CCKA commends the SWRCB for standing in support of the current Policy and tabling any discussion of amendments until after regulated plants submit their plans to implement the current Policy; these plans are due April 1, 2011.