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Feb. 6, 2014 POC News Update
Comments are due on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Soitec Solar project in Boulevard by 4 pm. on February 17, 2014. The County of San Diego will answer questions about the EIR on Feb. 6 at the Boulevard Planning Group meeting. The project’s thousands of solar trackers, each about the height and width of a two-story house, would be placed in environmentally sensitive areas and would industrialize rural land. Rooftop solar and energy efficiency are better clean energy solutions. POC submitted scoping comments in 2013.
POC thanks the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and U.S. Forest Service for opening a supplemental scoping period for SDG&G’s Master Special Use Permit project, in and around the Cleveland National Forest. Please attend the scoping meeting in Alpine on Feb. 19 at 5:00 PM, Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd., Alpine if you can. You can submit your own supplemental scoping comments by March 7, 2014. POC participated in the prehearing conference on Feb. 5, 2014 and submitted scoping comments in Nov. 2013.
The CPUC has approved an agreement to purchase power from the unneeded Pio Pico natural gas plant that will cost ratepayers $1.6 billion. As POC board member Bill Powers has testified before the CPUC, this agreement is not just and reasonable. POC filed a reply brief, opening brief, testimony and rebuttal testimony.
In Jan, 2013, Washington D.C. attorneys sent a 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 the expert federal and state wildlife agencies. POC also filed suit in March 2013 against the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to approve phase I of the Tule Wind Project in the McCain Valley National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area because the government’s approval decision violated federal laws that protect human health and wildlife. The suit is in U.S. District Court, and the first hearing has been rescheduled to Feb. 20, 2014.
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 Run 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 May 2013, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved highly flawed Wind Energy Ordinances and Plan Amendments. To protect county residents and the backcountry, POC sued the Board of Supervisors in Superior Court, with the goal of reversing the approval.
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. We are awaiting a ruling.
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