Eagle Crest Letterhead

 

June 25, 2021

Re: OPPOSE Large Scale Pumped Storage Budget Proposal – “Eagle Crest Bailout”

Our diverse coalition of organizations representing environmental, community choice aggregation, renewable energy, industrial ratepayer, agricultural, and veteran interests write in strong opposition to a troubling proposal that includes the ratepayer underwriting of the multi-billion-dollar Eagle Crest (also called Eagle Mountain) pumped storage project through a behind-the-scenes, Budget Trailer bill. Over the past three years, the Florida-based NextEra Corporation has attempted to pass 5 separate controversial bills to force the procurement of its project. Each Eagle Crest Bailout attempt has failed to pass a chamber.

As the Legislature moves forward in the remaining days of Budget negotiations, we strongly support the finalization of a Clean Energy Package that actually advances clean energy. It is necessary these decisions ensure reliability, are cost-effective, support vulnerable communities, protect the environment, and does not overburden the state’s diminishing water supply. We find it ironic that during a multi-year drought, NextEraproposes to burden the Department of Water Resources (DWR) with a costly project that does not provide a new source of water, conservation, or the efficient conveyance of water. Rather, DWR is being used to bailout investment in a project that has failed to succeed in the open marketplace because it proposes substantial economic harm to ratepayers and environmental damage. Proposed within one of the driest places in North America, Eagle Crest would overdraft sensitive aquifers under and surrounding JoshuaTree National Park and encroach upon protected wildlife habitat.

On June 24, 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a new procurement decision, which includes the vetting of cost-competitive long-duration energy storage, of which pumped storage is one technology. This is the proper venue for determining whether the Eagle Crest project (or any other project) is cost-effective and the best market outcome for ratepayers. A Budget Bailoutundermines this process and manipulates the energy marketplace to force California ratepayer bailout a Florida Corporation’s risky project.

As part of its work, the Legislature must avoid making the cost-of-living and affordability problem worse for residents. It also must protect state treasures like Joshua Tree National Park. Therefore, it is imperative that the Legislature reject the current budget proposal for Large Scale Pumped Storage Projects to advance a multi-billion-dollar ratepayer-funded bailout of the proposed Eagle Crest Pumped Storage Project.

We urge you to reject this behind-the-scenes, expensive budget play for Eagle Crest.

 

Will Scott, Jr.
African-American Farmers of California

Michael Boccadoro
Agricultural Energy Consumers Association

Emily Rooney
Agricultural Council of California

Juan Altamirano
Audubon California

Kevin Emmerich
Basin and Range Watch

Nicole Helms
California Alfalfa and Forage Association

Jane Townsend
California Association of Wheat Growers

Melissa Romero
California League of Conservation Voters

Nick Jensen
California Native Plant Society

Debbie Murdock
California Pear Growers Association

Bill Mattos
California Poultry Federation

Donna Boggs
California Seed Association

Chris Shutes
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Ryan Henson
California Wilderness Coalition

Brian Nowicki
Center for Biological Diversity

Phil Francis
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks

Pam Flick
Defenders of Wildlife

Ed LaRue
Desert Tortoise Council

Bill Allayaud
Environmental Working Group

Joani Woelfel
Farwest

Jan Smutny-Jones
Independent Energy Producers Association
Roger Isom
California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association

Robert Spiegel
California Farm Bureau Federation

Chris Zanobini
California Grain and Feed Association

Sean MacNeil
California Community Choice Association

Trudi Hughes
California Food Producers

Kelly Catlett
California Hydropower Reform Coalition

Audra Hartmann
California Large Energy Consumers Association

Shannon Eddy
Large-Scale Solar Association

Geary Hund
Mojave Desert Land Trust

Steve Bardwell
Morongo Basin Conservation Association

Neal Desai
National Parks Conservation Association

Manuel Cunha, Jr.
Nisei Farmers League

Matthew Baker
Planning and Conservation League

Lauren Cullum
Sierra Club California

Rick Umoff
Solar Energy Industries Association

Lucas Frerichs
The Nature Conservancy

Kate Hoit
Vet Voice Foundation


Laura Cunningham
Western Watersheds Project

Roger Isom
Western Agricultural Processers Association

Gail Delihant
Western Growers Association

cc:

Honorable Members of the California State Senate
Honorable Members of the California State Assembly
Honorable Governor Gavin Newsom
Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee
Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee
Senate Budget Committee
Senate Republican Caucus
Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee
Assembly Natural Resources Committee
Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee
Assembly Budget Committee
Assembly Republican Caucus