| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2006
Contact: David Hogan, Center for Biological Diversity, (619) 574-6800
Public Meetings Scheduled on Sunrise Powerlink
SAN DIEGO – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a series of five public meetings for the week of October 2 to take input on San Diego Gas and Electric’s proposed “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line.
The purpose of these meetings is to identify issues and alternatives that should be considered in the environmental review documents for the proposed Powerlink, which are expected to be published by the CPUC and BLM some time next year. The CPUC is considering the environmental impacts of permitting construction of the entire transmission line while BLM is considering the impacts of it crossing public land in the Imperial Valley desert. Before the Sunrise Powerlink can be permitted on this public land, the BLM would have to modify its California Desert Conservation Area land-use plan to allow the new utility corridor.
State and federal laws require that issues raised by the public at any of these meetings must be addressed in the project’s forthcoming environmental review documents.
Meeting dates and locations are as follows:
The October 5 meeting in Mission Valley will focus on Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The CPUC previously expressed concern about the park at a pre-hearing conference on September 13, where Commissioner Dian Grueneich directed SDG&E to provide an alternative route that avoids Anza Borrego. All of the routes in SDG&E’s current Sunrise Powerlink application are located through the state park.
“We’re grateful that the California Public Utilities Commission has considered the public and California State Park Director’s objections to SDG&E’s ill-conceived attack on Anza-Borrego with this short-sighted industrial project,” said David Hogan, Director of the Urban Wildlands Program for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Commission did the right thing when it ordered SDG&E to consider Powerlink alternatives outside of the park.
Kelly Fuller, a San Diego Sierra Club activist, added, “In addition to looking at alternate routes for the Powerlink that avoid Anza Borrego, we plan to ask the Public Utilities Commission to seriously consider alternatives to building the Powerlink at all. We can support clean, affordable energy and still preserve our communities and parks by choosing wisely from the many possible alternatives.”
A mix of solutions to San Diego’s energy demands have already been proposed by community groups and competing corporations . These include:
The proposed Sunrise Powerlink, a major new electrical transmission line from the Imperial Valley desert to the north coastal city of San Diego, is SDG&E’s preferred choice.
In addition to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Powerlink would cut through many other habitat preserves, parks and communities, thereby causing significant harm to both nature and people. Documents from SDG&E reveal that the Powerlink is just the first phase of a larger plan by SDG&E’s parent company, Sempra Energy, to extend the transmission line north to expand the California market for imported, cheap, polluting, fossil-fuel power from its Mexico power plant and others.
More details about the scoping process and the Sunrise Powerlink are available from the CPUC at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/sunrise.htm and http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/nop-noi/nop.pdf.
The original Federal Register notice for the California Desert Conservation Area land-use plan amendment is available at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Environment/info/aspen/sunrise/nop-noi/noi.pdf.
More information about the Sunrise Powerlink is available on the Center for Biological Diversity’s Powerlink web page at: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/programs/sprawl/sunrise-powerlink.html and Kelly Fuller’s blog at: http://kdfuller.blogspot.com.