Center for Biological Diversity

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

For immediate release: March 23, 2006

David Hogan, Center for Biological Diversity, (760) 809-9244
Kelly Fuller, Sierra Club, (619) 445-4390

Conservationists and communities celebrate early victory
against “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line

SDG&E to start over on state approval process

San Diego, Calif. – San Diego Gas and Electric has sent a surprise letter to the California Public Utilities Commission stating its intent to submit a new application and restart the clock for the agency’s approval of the controversial “Sunrise Powerlink” transmission line. SDG&E’s move means the loss of three months of company efforts to secure approval of the line and likely comes at significant cost to ratepayers.

SDG&E’s statements are buried in a letter to the utilities commission announcing the preferred route of the transmission line and introducing a tentative agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and Citizens Energy Corporation. In the letter the company also appears to back away from its push for special treatment during utilities commission consideration of the project. A copy of the letter is available upon request to

Conservationists and communities are celebrating this first setback for the Powerlink as they had vigorously opposed SDG&E’s application to the utilities commission on the grounds that it omitted important information, that it would subvert public participation, and that it violated California environmental laws and commission rules.

"SDG&E saw the writing on the wall and has changed course in response to effective opposition," said David Hogan, Director of the Urban Wildlands Program for the Center for Biological Diversity. "Now the company owes its opponents and communities an apology for all the wasted time and distress that resulted from their attempted subversion of due process."

“There has been so much public outcry in the last three months that SDG&E had to admit defeat and change its game plan,” added Kelly Fuller of the Sierra Club. “The power of our communities working together is stronger than the utility companies because we are fighting for our homes, children and environment. In the long run, our love for our families and nature will prevail over Sempra’s love of money.”

SDG&E’s letter may delay or remove the need for an important pending utilities commission decision on the matter of how it will handle the company’s original December 2005 Powerlink application. The commission had been expected to rule any day on whether SDG&E’s complete application for approval of the project was complete.

The Sunrise Powerlink is a major new large-capacity transmission line proposed for construction from the Imperial Valley desert near El Centro to the north coastal City of San Diego and is intended primarily to move imported power from Sempra’s polluting power plants in Mexico and Arizona for resale at top dollar in San Diego.

For more information, see the Center for Biological Diversity's Sunrise Powerlink website.


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