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California

Coastal Commission pushes San Onofre hearing to August

The California Coastal Commission has rescheduled its next briefing over the 2015 permit that allows Southern California Edison to bury millions of pounds of nuclear waste along the San Diego County coast.

The agenda item, previously scheduled for the July commission meeting near Monterey, has been pushed back to the August meeting in Malibu so more residents of San Diego and Orange counties will be able to attend.

“The public is always welcome to participate in public comment, but we won’t have anything formal on the July agenda on the San Onofre briefing,” spokeswoman Noaki Schwartz said. “We encourage members of the public to come to the August meeting and use this opportunity to hear directly from commission staff, Edison and potentially an invited member of the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).”

The Coastal Commission scheduled the informational item to collect more input from residents who are concerned about the permit commissioners approved unanimously in 2015.

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The permit was subsequently challenged by the Citizens Oversight nonprofit in San Diego Superior Court, where a judge denied a motion to dismiss the case.

That ruling prompted majority plant owner Edison to enter negotiations regarding potential alternative locations for the radioactive waste. Those settlement discussions are confidential and both sides have declined to comment on any plans to relocate the waste.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this month that nine members of the Coastal Commission had a series of private meetings with utility officials in advance of the vote to approve the on-site waste storage plan for San Onofre.

Schwartz said the rising level of concern over the commission’s permit prompted commissioners to schedule a follow-up meeting for residents to register their thoughts about the waste-storage plan. More than 8 million people live within 50 miles of the proposed waste repository.

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The August meeting will be held at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Residents who cannot attend the meeting are invited to email the commission at SanOnofreComments@coastal.ca.gov.

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jeff.mcdonald@sduniontribune.com (619) 293-1708 @sdutMcDonald

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