UPDATE: See below
Gavin Newsom may be forced to step down as Governor of California if a recall is approved September 14 by California voters.
He and the Democratic Party leaders are busy branding the recall a Republican effort, including a lawsuit by Newsom and divisive ads with Elizabeth Warren as spokeswoman – “distract and confuse” tactics. Many Californians are not interested in party power games and actually care about officials’ actions, such as when they protect special interests including utility companies and Big Oil, and allow risks or harm to the public and the environment.
For example, in 2016, when Newsom was Lieutenant Governor and on the California Lands Commission. Pacific Gas and Electric applied for a new permit for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The plant had never had state environmental review which many now urged the Commission to require. In addition,
– in 2015, it was revealed that PG&E had used incorrect safety data – since 1982 – and altered its operating license with the help of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to appear in compliance.
– Mothers for Peace SLO reviewed data and found PG&E committed 29 safety violations in 2014 alone, including inoperable backup generators. Fukushima meltdowns were initiated when the electricity grid shut down and backup generators failed when turned on. PG&E called these violations “gaps in excellence”.
– PG&E improperly packed high burn-up spent fuel rods into dry cask storage in 2015, creating a serious risk of a nuclear accident.
– the plant and its desal plant cause extensive damage to the ocean, including its devastating once-through water intake system that kills marine life.
– the plant sits amidst an active, connected network of earthquake faults
– a nuclear accident at Diablo Canyon would impact critical agricultural lands north in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties, east to the Central Valley, and south to Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, harm millions of people including Los Angeles, cause environmental destruction on land and to the Pacific Ocean, and devastate California, ranked the 5th largest economy in the world.
These are some of the issues. Friends of the Earth said in March 2015, “Diablo Canyon should never have been constructed in the first place, and now it is clear it should not be allowed to operate another day.”
Further, the Commission hearing was occurring as PG&E was on trial for the San Bruno disaster.
Despite the facts and the dangers from continued plant operation, Gavin Newsom refused to require environmental review and refused to delay the hearing to allow the public and experts to evaluate new information and Commission reports.
Instead, Newsom led the Commission in voting to approve the new permit, and applauded a recent agreement allowing the plant to operate for nine more years.
June 2016 hearing transcript; Diablo Canyon consideration starts on p. 78
Preceding April 2016 hearing transcript; Diablo Canyon starts on p. 55
Newsom’s comments at the hearings were very disturbing, given the issues and risks and PG&E’s safety history.
After 2016, California was hit with the powerful Ridgecrest earthquake and its many strong aftershocks – a powerful reminder of the daily risks. And even a power outage can cause a catastrophic nuclear accident, because nuclear power plants rely on grid power to keep fuel rods and spent fuel pools cool.
Newsom’s critical decision affecting the lives and future of so many is one example of his priorities and judgment. This is the reason many Californians support a recall.
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From ABC10 Sacramento:
“For nearly three years, ABC10’s Fire – Power – Money team has been at the forefront covering California’s wildfire crisis, the danger of PG&E’s power lines, and how the company avoids accountability.
Now, ABC10’s award-winning investigative series reveals how California’s state government, under Governor Gavin Newsom, responded to PG&E’s deadly crimes by giving the company rewards and protection.”