Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2006

Contact: David Hogan, Urban Wildlands Program Director, (619) 574-6800

California State Parks Department Speaks Out
Against Proposed Transmission Line:

“Sunrise Powerlink” Is “Not Compatible” with Anza-Borrego Desert State Park;
Impacts Would Be “Large” and “Unmitigable”

SAN DIEGO – Today the California Department of Parks and Recreation submitted a highly critical and strident summary critique of the proposed “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line and San Diego Gas and Electric’s related application to the California Public Utilities Commission. The Parks Department’s critique was delivered in the form of a “prehearing conference statement” for an upcoming September 13 Utilities Commission meeting in Ramona.

“The State Parks Department deserves a lot of credit for speaking out against the unnecessary and harmful Powerlink project,” said David Hogan, Director of the Urban Wildlands Program for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Department has done a significant public service by pointing out very real harm from the project on nature and the public’s enjoyment of Anza-Borrego and by preparing a rational critique of the misinformation contained in SDG&E’s application.”

Excerpts from the Parks Department statement follow:

“While the proposed Preferred Alternative route would approximate an existing 92169 kV transmission line right-of-way, along an approximate 23-mile length of the Park, the scale of the proposed project dwarfs the existing transmission line in size and magnitude of environmental impact to [Anza-Borrego Desert State Park].”

“After now having the opportunity to review the [Preliminary Environmental Assessment] for the proposed project … State Parks concludes that the proposed project is not compatible with its goals, objectives, and mandates. This project does not provide a net benefit to ABDSP, and would forever change the character of this pristine Park and wilderness areas. Moreover, the flaws in the PEA, if carried forward to the final environmental documentation, will result in a legally inadequate analysis.”

“All Sunrise Powerlink routes, both the proposed and alternatives, pass through ABDSP. This is not acceptable. The alternatives analysis in the PEA lists a number of alternative routes that were preliminarily reviewed but summarily rejected as infeasible or otherwise inadequate to meet project objectives. Many of the assertions of infeasibility are based on faulty analysis and incorrect conclusions. Additionally, SDG&E's project objectives, not surprisingly, lead to a focus on alternatives that are simplest, cheapest and quickest for SDG&E. These objectives, however, should not necessarily be the objectives approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Objectives most convenient for SDG&E are not necessarily the most appropriate for State Parks or the citizens of California. Moreover, an environmentally superior alternative may not be SDG&E's preferred choice, but it may be superior for the citizens of California.”

“Wilderness is meant to be forever, and is not open to the developments of man. We cannot recall the California State Park and Recreation Commission having ever removed land from the State Wilderness system. To do so for this project would set a dangerous precedent that would mean that State Park lands and State wilderness are merely held in trust by the State of California until such time as they may be needed by private developers or utility companies.”

“The impacts that this project would have on Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the jewel of California's State Park System, and California State Wilderness are large and, in our estimation, unmitigable.”

Please visit the Center’s Powerlink web page to read the complete Parks Department statement:

The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and their habitat.


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