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Published: November 28, 2012

NCTC comments to NRC on decommissioning Diablo Canyon

Dear Commissioners:

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) is located in San Luis Obispo California, and was formed under the guidelines of California Senate Bill 18 April 26, 2006 as a State Recognized Tribal Government by the Native American Heritage Commission, organized and dedicated to preservation of the Chumash Culture, and Sacred Sites. NCTC is dedicated to meaningful consulting with local governments and agencies, consulting with the development community, and supporting tribal community well-being. NCTC members have been actively involved in government and projects to protect our culture for over 40 years in San Luis Obispo County.

State Recognized Tribal Government Qualifications:

1. The Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) a non-profit State and Federal tax exempt corporation meeting all the qualifications to be placed on the State of California Native American Heritage Commissions (NAHC) California Environmental Quality Act list for local government consultation concerning Cultural Resources issues in San Luis Obispo County.

2. The NCTC has met all the qualifications to be placed on the NAHC Senate Bill 18 list for General Plan Amendments with local Cities and Counties.

3. The NCTC is a Chumash Senate Bill 18 compliant Chumash governing tribal council located in San Luis Obispo County.

4. The NCTC is recognized as a Native American tribal by the surrounding community, including other tribes and local governments.

5. The NCTC consulting teams are engaged in consultation with local and state government agencies and every City in San Luis Obispo County and the County itself regarding land uses issues, environmental issues and cultural resources issues.

NCTC Project Development Consulting and Cultural Educational Awareness:

1.) The NCTC project development consulting team offers:

  • a. advising on how projects can be planned and approved in accordance with Chumash values.
  • b. advises and participates in theme/design workshops
  • c. advising and assisting in the final approval of the project through the Board of Supervisors, California Coastal Commission and all other governmental, judicial or regulatory bodies.

2.) The NCTC Educational Projects team is dedicated to the education of our culture to the local community through:

  • a. children’s classes
  • b. adult lectures
  • c. lecturing at local colleges and universities
  • d. Native American Awareness Training for government and development projects.
  • e. educational community events
  • f. Chumash outdoor learning Parks
  • g. Chumash lead tours
  • h. development of Chumash Cultural Center

NCTC is an “affected tribe”; the PG&E power plant located between Avila Beach and Morro Bay, is built on top of NCTC’s Ancestors village site. All the land and ocean around the power plant is Sacred to the Chumash Peoples. The Chumash Peoples have live along the Central California Coast for over 15,000 years. The Chumash village at the power plant site dates beyond 9,000 years. The Chumash have live and been a part of this land forever.

The Chumash make decision with the future always in mind, seven generation, always making decision that do not leave a mess for the future generation to have to deal with, always thinking of how we can be better ancestors. NCTC does not support the re-licensing of this nuclear power plant, the potential for a catastrophic disaster along the most beautiful coastline along the Pacific Coast is far too much of a risk for all the peoples, animals, and plant nations that live or would be affected. The power plant was built on 13 or more faults, the interactions of all the faults with the San Andreas faults are a blueprint for disaster. NRC needs to make good decisions; decisions that protect all living things, all people need to adjust to a future without nuclear energy.

NCTC and the Chumash Nation need as much time as possible to participate in this re-licensing’s process, we are seeking meaningful consultation and meaningful opportunity to participate in the environmental review process that NRC has initiated in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision in State of New York v. NRC, 681 F.3d 471 (D.C. Cir. 2012). NCTC is writing to request you withdraw the “Request for comments on the notice of intent to prepare and (sic) environmental impact statement and notice of public meetings” (“Notice”), published in the Federal Register on October 25, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 65,137).

NCTC is asking that the Notice be withdrawn because it fails to satisfy several requirements of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) regulations for notices of intent to publish an environmental impact statement (“EIS”). As a result, the notice fails to give the Native American Tribes sufficient information on which to develop comments on the appropriate scope of the EIS proposed by the NRC. According to the Notice, the purpose of the proposed EIS is to respond to the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision in State of New York. To that end, the Notice briefly describes the types of environmental impacts that it proposes to evaluate, according to your own draft Tribal Manual clear and concise explanations should be a part of documents that Native Peoples need to comment on.

The Notice fails, however, to provide two pieces of information required by NRC regulation 10 CFR § 51.27(a)(2) for a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS: (a) a “description of the proposed action” and (b) “to the extent sufficient information is available, possible alternatives.” Instead, the NRC asserts that the scoping process will be used, among other things, to “[d]efine the proposed action that is to be the subject of the EIS.” 77 Fed. Reg. at 65,138. Under section 51.27(a)(2), however, it is the NRC’s responsibility in the first instance to identify the proposed action clearly in the scoping notice.

In the Notice, the NRC gives no hint of what is the agency action that creates the risk of spent fuel storage environmental impacts, and thus requires commentators to guess at the action. Moreover, what little factual information is presented in the Notice is likely to mislead commentators into viewing the proposed action and its alternatives as some combination of methods for storing spent fuel. Such a truncated scope of alternatives would be far too narrow to satisfy NEPA because it would not address the original agency action that causes the production of spent reactor fuel and its impacts: the licensing of nuclear reactors. Therefore the scoping process would not lead to any analysis of the most obvious alternative for the avoidance or mitigation of spent fuel storage impacts: the cessation of reactor licensing.

Without a clear description of the proposed action and its most obvious alternative, and meaningful consultation with California Native American Chumash Nation the Notice is fatally deficient. The Notice therefore should be withdrawn and republished with a clear description of the NRC action that leads to spent fuel storage impacts: licensing of nuclear reactors. It should also identify the no-action alternative: the cessation of licensing and relicensing, which would halt further production of spent fuel.

NCTC would like to thank you for your consideration and anticipated cooperation.


Fred Collins
Tribal Administrator
Northern Chumash Tribal Coucil

Also see Mothers For Peace

Northern Chumash Tribal Council: 
Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary: 
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