San Diego South Bay Greens Fight Chula Vista Plans
The electricity utility servicing San Diego County is requesting permission to add 52 miles of transmission lines and towers across the width of the city of Chula Vista to service what they claim is their need to make more power available to San Diego County. The California Public Utilities Commission scheduled hearings to be held in the city of Chula Vista on Wednesday, August 4, 2004.
The South Bay Greens spoke out against what is called the Otay Mesa Power Purchase Agreement Transmission Project citing several concerns. The original request was to include only 1/4 mile of a 230 Kilo volt line in rural San Diego County and a small substation with a total cost of $16,000,000. This request is greatly enlarged encompassing 52 miles of additional lines and towers at a cost of $155,000,000 to cross almost the entire width of the city of Chula Vista. In addition, the lines are not to be undergrounded, as is the plan for the section in San Diego City, and we, ratepayers, are to pick up the tab! This is corporate greed at its best!
Local citizen groups, with which the South Bay Greens work in coalition, have been working for over two years to influence the development of the only remaining undeveloped bayside land. Chula Vista bayfront is to be redeveloped under the authority of the San Diego Port Commission and the City of Chula Vista. One of our goals has been the elimination of above-ground transmission lines which are presently located along the bayfront north to National City. This new request is in complete conflict with the current planning and in contradiction to the community goal. These ugly towers and lines decrease the economic value of this area. Not only that, but high-end retail stores refuse to relocate their businesses to this new bayfront development.
Another serious concern for the Greens is the fact that the fuels listed for electricity generation do not meet the 20% renewable energy sources required by the state of California. Instead they plan to use natural gas, 50%; coal, 11%, biomass and waste burning, 3%; nuclear 16%, hydroelectric, 13%; and wind 1%. Not one volt of solar power generation. Since southern California can boast of having 71% of the days in a year having sunshine, we asked why SDG&E persists in not using renewable energy sources.
If natural gas is to be used, we spoke of the extremely dangerous process that must take place before shipped in liquefied natural gas is changed to the gaseous state where it can be used for fuel. We point out that Sempra, the parent company of SDG&E, is hoping to complete transactions for a regasification location off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico and also off the coast of Los Angeles. Could this be related to this present request for additional lines and towers?
Also worrisome, is the fact that the northern area of the bayfront encompasses the Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge. We are concerned with the impact of these lines on the Refuge wild life. How will threatened or endangered species, of which there are many here, be affected? There will be conflict with plans, policies, regulations and habitat conservation goals. These affects must be studied and mitigation provided.
Finally, we complained about the process of notification to the community. It was not timely nor was the Purchase Agreement presented at a reading level that the general public can understand. The Agreement was placed in several libraries, but the library which has the highest count of book transactions in the county, which is the Chula Vista Central Library, was not provided with copies of the Agreement. Could this be deliberate or just poor planning ?If citizens understood how the energy future of the entire county and their city could be affected, and timely notification given, we would fill this chamber.
Our last request was that the CPUC reject the Power Purchase Agreement and the subsequent preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Report.
We are convinced that we must think globally, but act locally to bring about positive consequences in our lives.
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