(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to improve the
process of siting and licensing new thermal electric powerplants to
ensure that these facilities can be sited in a timely manner, while
protecting environmental quality and public participation in the
(b) Notwithstanding Section 7550.5 of the Government Code, the
commission shall prepare a report to the Governor and the Legislature
on or before March 31, 2000, that identifies administrative and
statutory measures that, preserving environmental protections and
public participation, would improve the commission's siting and
licensing process for thermal powerplants of 50 megawatts and larger.
The report shall include, but is not limited to, all of the
(1) An examination of potential process efficiencies associated
with required hearings, site visits, and documents.
(2) A review of the impacts on both process efficiency and public
participation of restrictions on communications between applicants,
the public, and staff or decisionmakers.
(3) An assessment of means for improving coordination with the
licensing activities of local jurisdictions and participation by
other state agencies.
(4) An assessment of organizational structure issues including the
adequacy of the amounts and organization of current technical and
(5) Recommendations for administrative and statutory measures to
improve the siting and licensing process.
(c) The commission may immediately implement any administrative
recommendations. Regulations, as identified in paragraph (5), adopted
within 180 days of the effective date of this section may be adopted
as emergency regulations in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing
with Section 11340) of the Government Code. For purposes of that
chapter, including Section 11349.6 of the Government Code, the
adoption of the regulations shall be considered by the Office of
Administrative Law to be necessary for the immediate preservation of
the public peace, health, safety, and general welfare.