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Protect Our Communities defends communities and nature in San Diego County, Imperial County, and Northern Baja California from harmful energy projects and advances better energy solutions through advocacy and law.

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The Protect Our Communities Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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July 29, 2014 POC News Update

Work continues on a POC-funded study of San Diego’s potential for Community Choice Aggregation, an alternative to traditional utility company monopolies such as San Diego Gas & Electric.

POC supports the Power with the Sun campaign for more rooftop solar and energy efficiency in San Diego. Rooftop solar and energy efficiency are two of the locally controlled, clean energy solutions that are needed in this region.

In July 2014, POC filed a petition in state appellate court in San Diego, challenging the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) approval of the Pio Pico Energy Center, a proposed $1.6 billion natural gas power plant. The petition shows that the CPUC violated California state law when it approved the Pio Pico power plant in 2013, by failing to carry out its duty to protect SDG&E customers from unnecessary and expensive power company boondoggles. The CPUC barred testimony showing there was no need for Pio Pico and refused to consider any alternatives to the gas plant.

In May 2014, Washington D.C. attorneys sent a second letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of POC, asking that the agency withdraw its approval of phase II of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project, in light of myriad legal violations, serious threat to legally protected golden eagles and other migratory birds, and the inadequate response to repeated concerns raised by government wildlife agencies. This letter followed up a previous letter sent on POC’s behalf in January 2014.

Three comment letters were submitted on behalf of POC and its allies on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Soitec Solar project in Boulevard. The project’s thousands of solar trackers, each about the height of a three-story house, would be placed in environmentally sensitive areas and would industrialize rural land. Rooftop solar and energy efficiency are better clean energy solutions.

We also have sued the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior regarding the review and approval of Sempra’s Energia Sierra Juarez (ESJ) cross-border transmission line. ESJ would provide market access to electricity generated in Mexico, making it harder for San Diegans to switch to locally controlled energy that is better for the environment and San Diego communities. The case is still in progress, but in March 2014 the court ruled that presidential permits are subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other federal environmental laws.

In March 2014, POC submitted supplemental scoping comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and U.S. Forest Service for SDG&G’s Master Special Use Permit project in and around the Cleveland National Forest. We thank the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and U.S. Forest Service for opening a supplemental scoping period in response to requests by POC and other groups. POC participated in the prehearing conference on Feb. 5, 2014 and submitted scoping comments in Nov. 2013.

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