Environmentalists Suing to Close Plant Providing 9% of California’s Power

An environmentalist group called Friends of the Earth is suing the U.S. Department of Energy over its decision to award funds to keep California’s last remaining nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, open, according to a new report.

The DOE allegedly awarded $1 billion to keep the plant open past its planned closure date in 2025 after Governor Gavin Newsom said closing Diablo Canyon, which provides 9 percent of the state’s power, would leave California vulnerable to blackouts.

“As we experienced during the record heat wave last September, climate change-driven extreme events are causing unprecedented stress on our power grid — the Diablo Canyon Power Plant is important to support energy reliability as we accelerate progress towards achieving our clean energy and climate goals,” Newsom said in a 2023 statement.

“Climate change is causing unprecedented stress on California’s energy system and I appreciate the Legislature’s action to maintain energy reliability as the state accelerates the transition to clean energy,” Newsom continued.

“The environmental impacts from extending the lifespan of this aging power plant at this point in time have not been adequately addressed or disclosed to the public,” the group’s lawsuit said.

While a safety assessment found there weren’t risks to keeping the nearly 40-year-old plant open, Friends of the Earth called the notion “grossly deficient.”