Monday, May 12 2008
Crucial hearing on Sunrise Powerlink, Borrego Spgs
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
De Anza Room of Borrego Springs Resort
1112 Tilting T Drive
Borrego Springs, CA
Crucial Meeting of CPUC in Borrego Springs on May 12 ON "SUNRISE POWERLINK"
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold the last Public Participation Hearing in San Diego County on Monday, May 12, in Borrego Springs at the Borrego Springs Resort, De Anza Room, 1112 Tilting T Drive, Borrego Springs, 1pm - 5 p.m and 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.. on the massive and so-called "Sunrise Powerlink" transmission line project of SDG&E.
As you may know, the line has been deliberately planned through at least a dozen county open space preserves and would run through the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, is a potential fire hazard and will cost SDG&E ratepayers (you) some $1.5 billion for construction alone. True estimates of the cost of the line are reported to exceed $7 billion, including the $1 billion or more that SDG&E will make in interest payments as they will hold the paper on the line.
The important issue regarding this hearing is that there is now confirmation that three members of the five member state commission will be attending, hence there will be a quorum of the commission to hear you tell them why this destructive and inappropriate power line project of San Diego Gas & Electric should not be built. The meeting has become even more important due to the governor's interference with his own commission over this line. See today's LA Times article below.
SEMPRA is the parent corporation of SDG&E and is the mastermind behind this power line, which would facilitate the movement of gas-generated electricity from Mexico into the US using SEMPRA's gas from the Baja LNG plant it is completing now with Shell Oil. SEMPRA already owns and runs one gas-fueled generation plant across the border in Mexicali. More plants would mean cheaper electricity for SoCAL as the Mexican environmental and labor laws are much weaker than in the US. SEMPRA/SDG&E wants to move the electricity northward to the LA market. This is explicitly stated in their testimony. The power generated in Mexico will not be for San Diego alone but for lucrative markets to the north. SDG&E tried to build a line in southern Riverside County some years ago -- but that line was rejected by the CPUC. Now they are trying to cross San Diego County for the same purposes.
The 7,000+ page draft Environmental Impact Report issued by the CPUC favors a mix of in-county conventional generation combined with renewable generation for our electricity needs as the #1 alternative to this massive power line project. This power line project is the largest infrastructure project ever planned for San Diego County. It would tie ratepayer (our) dollars to old, non-renewable, fossil-based electricity generation. The renewables that SDG&E claims to be accessing by this line in Imperial County is a fig leaf for the project -- and one which the governor conveniently uses to promote the line. In fact, the Stirling Engine technology is unproven and has been thoroughly vetted in Phase 1 of the CPUC hearings by the Center for Biological Diversity legal team. They demonstrated that the technology has major problems and will not do what the SDG&E says it will do.
This is a titanic battle for San Diego and Southern California's energy future. If SDG&E can put a massive 500 kV line through the park and northern route communities while destroying publicly held open spaces, or alternatively route the line through southern communities and the Cleveland National Forest, it will lock us into yesterday's technology, do immense environmental damage to our county and make it more difficult for the all important energy shift to non-polluting renewables so necessary in a global warming world.
Your presence at the May 12th hearing in Borrego is crucial. Please come if you can. Please contact family members, neighbors and friends to let them know their voices are needed at this meeting.
FYI, I am an intervener in the CPUC proceedings on this project from Ramona.<