Bill to Protect Emergency Preparedness at Shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Plant Clears First Hurdle

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Senate Government Organization Committee today approved Senate Bill 465 by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that would ensure local governments continue to receive funding for offsite emergency response planning, training, and exercises related to the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

“The continued storage of SONGS’ waste at San Onofre poses an ongoing danger to Southern California that requires our first responders to be prepared should they need to respond to an incident,” said Senator Bates, a member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. “While the federal government must do its job to remove SONGS’ waste from the region, the state should also do what it can to help local communities with emergency preparedness. I appreciate the bipartisan support that my bill received today and I hope it will be signed into law later this year.”

SB 465 makes it clear that local governments will continue to receive funding for costs incurred as a result of carrying out activities that ensure the safety and welfare of the communities surrounding SONGS.

Senator Bates has long advocated for the federal government to move SONGS’ nuclear waste to a safe and secure location that is far from communities as possible. SONGS sits near an active fault line, adjacent to the heavily-trafficked Interstate 5 and the Pacific Ocean, and sandwiched between densely-populated Orange and San Diego counties.

She previously served on the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP) when she was an Orange County Supervisor. She worked with her fellow panelists to address the issues raised by the continued storage of SONGS’ waste on-site.

She also authored Senate Joint Resolution 23 in 2016 that urged Congress to pass the Interim Consolidated Storage Act of 2016, (House Resolution 4745). The Act would have paired a region that is volunteering to host an interim waste storage facility with communities around the country that have nuclear waste demanding a better storage solution.

SB 465 will next head to the Senate Appropriations Committee for its consideration at a later date.