Why Diablo Canyon Will Live — and Why the Corrupt PGE-IBEW-NRDC Proposal Will Fail

Statement by Environmental Progress

June 21, 2016


The back-room Diablo Canyon deal — negotiated by corrupt institutions behaving unethically and perhaps illegally — will fail.

It will fail because it would put our children and grandchildren at risk.

It will be rejected by the people of California, policymakers and the courts because of the human suffering and environmental harm it would cause.

It will fail because everyone now knows — and Sierra Club and NRDC have admitted — that closing nuclear plants increases fossil fuels and carbon emissions.


It will fail because the proposal claims it will replace all 18,000 GWh of low-carbon power from Diablo Canyon but only specifies 2,000 GWh of "greenhouse gas-free sources" and 2,000 GWh of energy consumption reductions from energy efficiency. 

It will fail because shareholders and investors have already spoken — PG&E stock is flat. That means PG&E shareholders view the proposal as adding no value to the company.

It will fail because when people understand that the proposal is based on a big lie — that Diablo can be closed without increasing fossil fuel use, methane emissions and carbon emissions — they will reject it, and the leadership of the institutions who negotiated it.
It will be rejected because the evidence is overwhelming that moving from nuclear to natural gas would increase:

  • Deaths from methane gas pipeline explosions, greater air pollution, and power outages affecting the sick and elderly.

  • Electricity rates for all Californians, especially the poor.

  • Global warming and ocean acidification from higher carbon emissions and methane emissions.

  • Unemployment and poverty state-wide by replacing high-paying in-state nuclear jobs with low-paying out-of-state fracking jobs.

The timing could not be better for efforts to save not just Diablo Canyon but nuclear plants around the United States and the world. PG&E is about to begin a criminal trial around the deaths of eight people from its pipeline explosion. California is experiencing power outages. And people are waking up to the essential role played by nuclear for climate. 

The proposal, if enacted, would harm PG&E shareholders, ratepayers and workers. It would expose the company to more natural gas risk at a time that its executives are in a criminal trial.

The proposal exposes the corruption of IBEW 1245 leadership and IBEW 1245’s failure to represent its members. IBEW 1245 lied to its workers when it claimed to be fighting to keep the plant open; has violated its moral duty to represent its workers interests; and may be in violation of the law.

The proposal would increase electricity rates. And it will increase unemployment by destroying 1,500 good jobs, and sending those jobs to out of state natural gas fracking operations.

The proposal exposes the deep rot and hypocrisy within anti-nuclear groups NRDC and FOE. Organizations seeking to increase carbon emissions by moving from low-carbon energy to natural gas from fracking must be called what they are: anti-environmental organizations. By moving from nuclear to natural gas, these organizations are putting our children and grandchildren at risk of worsened global warming, ocean acidification and air pollution. They are acting on unscientific dogma as dangerous as that espoused by anti-vaxxers.

Already 100 people had signed up to attend our Friday 3:45 pm protest of NRDC headquarters in San Francisco. We expect those numbers to increase significantly between now and then. 

Already 100 people had signed up for our March for Environmental Hope! We expect those numbers to increase significantly. The March will go on.

The clarity provided by this corrupt deal allows us to focus on what matters: using the March as a strategic retreat to develop our political, legal and organizing strategy to achieve victory — not just for Diablo Canyon, but all nuclear plants threatened by anti-nuclear organizations, corrupt unions, craven policymakers and short-term corporate executives.

We will win because the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.

We will win because the Californian people will defend their children and grandchildren against the suffering and danger this proposal would create.

We will win because we have five years to expose the truth, grow our movement and move the state and nation.

We will win because Californians, the American people and all humans love our children and grandchildren more than we believe superstitions or tolerate corruption.

We will win because people who love and care deeply about nature will come to see the environmental disaster this proposal would create.