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LANDSCAPE:Assembly opts out of nuclear idea

THE POLITICAL

DeVore's bill to allow building of power plants is killed in committee. Also: A supervisor has a plan for Newport links.

April 19, 2007|By Alicia Robinson

dpt-pollandscape19TextNA25SHBPDaily Pilot DeVore's bill to allow building of power plants is killed in committee. Also: A supervisor has a plan for Newport links.ON THE WEB

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Next time you get hit with rolling blackouts or a big electric bill, don't blame Newport Beach Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. The Assembly's natural resources committee on Monday killed his bill that would have lifted a state restriction on building new nuclear power plants.

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Right now, state law says no property can be designated for a nuclear plant until there's a government-sanctioned disposal site for waste from the plant. DeVore's bill would have nixed that provision so the planning process for new plants could begin.

Nuclear power will be essential if the state wants to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gases, DeVore said. Besides, legislators haven't left themselves many options — last year they voted not to renew contracts with electric suppliers that use coal-generated power, and the state lands commission recently rejected a proposed offshore liquefied natural gas terminal.

"Unfortunately, you can't power an electrical grid on good intentions," DeVore said. "I don't see how you get there from here."

Without the "nuclear option," DeVore said he expects the state to become even more dependent on natural gas, which already supplies nearly 40% of California's power. He also predicts that consumers will see their electric rates rise dramatically over the next decade.

True to form, DeVore isn't giving up. He said he'll bring the bill back next session and take it a step further by removing the state's other restriction on nuclear power. It prohibits plants from reprocessing nuclear fuel.

Also, a consortium of investors in Fresno is considering a ballot initiative to allow a plant in that city, DeVore said, adding, "I would be much inclined to help them."

MEETING SET ON GOLF COURSE

Expect a packed room Monday when Newport Beach’s citizens aviation committee meets to talk about the future of the back nine holes of the Newport Beach Golf Course. The county owns the parcel where they sit, and airport officials are considering other uses when the golf course’s lease ends July 31.

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