| Center for Biological Diversity
San Diego Sierra Club
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2006
Contact: David Hogan, Center for Biological Diversity, (619) 574-6800
Conservation Groups Seek Expanded
Possible New Transmission Line Routes Would Harm
SAN DIEGO – Conservation organizations sent requests today to the California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bureau of Land Management for an extended comment period and three additional public meetings for the ongoing environmental review “scoping” process on San Diego Gas and Electric’s “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line project.
The Center for Biological Diversity and San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club made the request in response to new information SDG&E recent filed with the utilities commission, which identifies a number of possible new alternative Powerlink routes through southeastern San Diego County. SDG&E’s filing follows the utilities commission’s directive for the company to identify alternate routes that avoid Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. To date, no public meetings have been held in newly affected communities, and newly affected property owners have not been notified.
Beyond the routes presented by SDG&E, the utilities commission is considering other possible new Powerlink routes. In a letter to SDG&E dated September 27, 2006, the commission indicated an interest in reviewing alternatives in many areas of the southern San Diego backcountry, from near the Mexican border to as far north as Ramona and west of the Cleveland National Forest.
SDG&E has notified the conservation groups that it objects to their request.
The conservation groups oppose SDG&E’s new possible alternative routes because the entire Powerlink unnecessary and because the new routes would cause significant harm to the Cleveland National Forest, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and several communities, including Alpine, Boulevard, Campo, Cuyamaca, Descanso, Guatay, Jacumba, Laguna, Pine Valley, Portrero and Tecate.
“It’s really staggering how much harm the Powerlink might cause to natural parks, preserves and communities,” said David Hogan, Urban Wildlands Program Director at the Center of Biological Diversity. “Since when is it OK for a corporation to hold so many people and places hostage to its profit-making schemes? It’s vital that the public be given a full opportunity to weigh-in with their concerns over the new possible routes.”
“This is an issue of basic fairness,” added Kelly Fuller, a San Diego Sierra Club activist. “Southern backcountry communities and supporters of the Cleveland National Forest and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park should be given the same chance to talk directly with the government that the North County and Anza-Borrego supporters had. That’s why we have requested additional scoping meetings and an extension of the scoping comment period.”
State and federal laws require the utilities commission and BLM to address all issues raised during the public scoping period in the project’s forthcoming environmental review documents. The utilities commission is considering the environmental impacts of the entire Powerlink project while the BLM is only considering the impacts of it crossing public land in the Imperial Valley desert. Before the Sunrise Powerlink could be permitted on BLM land, the agency’s California Desert Conservation Area land-use plan would have to be modified to create a new utility corridor for the project.
The Sunrise Powerlink is a proposed new major electrical transmission line project from the Imperial Valley desert to the north coastal City of San Diego. Its proposed routes would cause significant harm to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Cleveland National Forest and many communities. SDG&E’s documents reveal that the Powerlink is just phase one of a larger plan by SDG&E’s owner, Sempra Energy, to extend the line north to expand the California market for imported cheap, polluting, fossil-fuel power from its Mexico power plant and others.
A mix of solutions to San Diego’s energy demands have been proposed by competing corporations and community groups. These include:
The conservation groups’ requests are available at:
SDG&E’s objection to the group’s requests is available at:
SDG&E’s October 2, 2006 filing and maps identifying new possible southern Powerlink routes are available at:
The CPUC’s September 27, 2006 letter identifying other route areas is available at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/datareqs/dr1.pdf
For more information about the proposed Sunrise Powerlink, please visit 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.