Power Plant Application is Suspended for Second Time…and Continues to Fester

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On April 24, 2014, the California Energy Commission (CEC) ordered that all proceedings on the Cogentrix application for certification (AFC) for the Quail Brush power plant bordering Mission Trails Park and Santee are on hold until April 15, 2015. While the plant cannot move forward for another year, (unless Cogentrix files a motion to revive the AFC sooner and the CEC approves this motion), no evidentiary hearings will take place this year that would have likely terminated this ill-conceived fossil fuel project once and for all.

Concerned citizens, including several elected officials, created a powerful response opposing the suspension and requesting the application be vacated, which was duly noted by the CEC. THANK YOU for your strong support. Community members like you are the David’s of this David and Goliath battle. The preservation of our beloved Mission Trails Regional Park and East Elliott Open Space area – and the health of our neighboring communities – Santee, Tierrasanta, Lakeside, El Cajon, Poway, La Mesa, San Diego – need your continued attention and diligence on the Quail Brush power plant issue.
STAY WITH US!

You can read the details of the CEC second-year suspension here. Or go to the CEC Docket Log and scroll down to TN# 202228. Letters of opposition, petitions against the gas power plant, and other important project documents are archived here as well.

Join SMT on EXPLORE MISSION TRAILS DAY in Mission Trails Regional Park
Sat, May 17, 2014, 8 AM – 3 PM
 The Save Mission Trails booth will be in the East Fortuna (Equestrian) Staging Area near Mast Blvd. and Rt. 52.
Connecting Children with Nature is the theme of this year’s event. Explore Mission Trails Day activities include free guided nature walks, pony rides for kids, live animals and educational programs for all ages, food for purchase, a climbing wall, nature discovery stations, and more. Email savemissiontrails@gmail.com if you are interested in helping out on this fun day. Wear an orange shirt or hat to identify yourself as a friend of SMT.

Below are photos of the Save Mission Trails booth at EarthFair 2014 in Balboa Park.

securedownload-3

Signing up to speak out against graded hills, fire danger, noise, visual blight, & pollution next to Mission Trails Regional Park

SMT at EarthFair 2014

Learning about the continued threat of the 11-acre gas plant with 11 smoke stacks proposed in an open-space / residential zone

Say NO to Quail Brush AGAIN – Email CEC by Wed., April 23

Power Plant by Mission Trails – Just Say No!
Cogentrix asks for a second year suspension.
Urgent! Email the CEC by Wed., 4/23/14, to request a suspension denial.

On April 8, 2014, the power plant applicant Cogentrix made it clear they are not withdrawing the power plant siting near Mission Trails. Cogentrix asked the California Energy Commission (CEC) for an additional 12-month suspension for the Quail Brush Power Plant, stating the project “would be feasible.”

The CEC is requesting public comments as soon as possible in order for this input to be considered by the Committee. Please voice your opposition to the suspension, asking instead for the application to be vacated.  NOTE:  Comment deadline is April 23, 2014.

Use the electronic filing comment form at https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/Ecomment/Ecomment.aspx?docketnumber=11-AFC-03
or Email: publicadviser@energy.ca.gov
with Subject Line: Quail Brush Power Plant AFC (11-AFC-03) – Deny suspension

Write your own brief letter for the most impact, or copy this sample letter.

Dear Commissioners:

I am a concerned citizen opposed to an additional year suspension for the Quail Brush Generation Project 11-AFC-03 in the East Elliott Planning Area.

Please deny this suspension. Furthermore, I respectfully request that the application be vacated.

A fossil fuel power plant is completely inappropriate for the ecologically sensitive area adjacent to Mission Trails Regional Park and surrounding communities with nearby schools, hospitals, and homes. The project is inconsistent with the City of San Diego’s LORS. It was denied by the City of San Diego Planning Commission, the San Diego City Council, and the City of Santee. There is massive bipartisan public opposition to Quail Brush.

The proposed project is also located within the East Elliott Multi Habitat Planning Area, part of San Diego’s Multi Species Conservation Program (MSCP) open space area. The Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force opposes the siting of the power plant.

The taxpayers of San Diego County object to any further spending of California taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a project that violates so many key local land use provisions.

The cumulative air quality impact to low-lying Santee is not acceptable, no matter what mitigation the power plant offers. The high fire hazard of a gas plant here is too high a price to pay.

Please end the 11-AFC-03 process and focus on truly progressive projects– such as energy storage and rooftop solar–in appropriate places, to generate energy.

Sincerely,
Your Name,
City
————–

Thank you for taking a moment to submit your letter. The CEC Committee will issue a written ruling on the request no later than May 8, 2014. View details and sign up on the CEC Quail Brush listserv at http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/quailbrush/.

Send Your Email to Public Utilities Commission to Reject Quail Brush!

First, a big “THANK YOU” to those of you who have already emailed the CPUC.

Now, for those that still need to do so, please email the CPUC today! It’s the most important thing you can do right now to stop the proposed Quail Brush power plant adjacent to Mission Trails Park and West Santee.

The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made a draft ruling on 11/20/12 that the CoGentrix Quail Brush power plant is not needed. If this ruling stands — and the hearing will be soon — it will put another nail (a BIG NAIL) in the coffin of this ill-conceived project.
YOU can support the CPUC’s proposed decision. Easy steps:

1) Email the CPUC.
SEND TO:  public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov  (Copy and paste in your email address line.)
Copy and paste in your SUBJECT LINE: Uphold ALJ Decision to reject SDG&E A1105023
Copy and paste the letter below into your email text. Be sure to INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, CITY, ZIP at the bottom of the email in order to be counted.

2) GOOD IDEA: Add a cc: to docket@energy.ca.gov so your letter goes to the California Energy Commission, too.

3) Email Governor Jerry Brown. To send a message to the governor you must do so at http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php Enter your name and email, click public utilities commission (or energy) for subject, then continue. There will be a space for you to copy and paste the pre-written letter. It takes only a moment; we believe he can be influential.

4) For your ease, If you are averse to “copy and paste,” please send your email via the Sierra Club action alert. (You do not need to do both.) NOTE: Sierra Club will repair this link shortly. TRY BACK IN 24 HOURS.

5) Then forward this message to friends & relatives and ask them to email the CPUC too!

SAMPLE LETTER to the CPUC

Please support Administrative Law Judge Yacknin’s 11/20/2012 decision rejecting SDG&E’s application 1105023 for the Quail Brush, Pio Pico, and Escondido gas plants. These fossil fuel plants use inefficient polluting technology for unneeded power and do not move California toward the achievement of its sustainable clean energy goals.

Energy conservation is working. Southern California peak energy demand is static, contrary to claims by SDG&E and Cogentrix, which together seek to build a redundant plant for their own financial gain. I object to SDG&E profiting from selling the gas and the electricity, while we citizens pay for the significant and unnecessary costs of these fossil fuel plants by suffering the related health impacts and by paying increased utility rates.

I support the use of local rooftop / parking lot solar and further energy efficiency for any future needed peaking power generation. Both our sun-blessed county and our state have a special opportunity to be leaders in the movement to reduce greenhouse gases.

In asking you to reject SDG&E’s application, I join my voice to that of thousands of local residents, Democrat Assembly Member Marty Block, Republican Assembly Member Brian Jones, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, and the San Diego City Council, who oppose the Quail Brush project.

I sincerely urge you to uphold the decision of the Administrative Law Judge.

[Your name, your address]
[Your city, state, zip]

Further information
- Get informed why QB is not needed with this great letter on the CEC public record.
– For details of the CPUC 11/20/12 proposed decision, click the CPUC website here.
– Read articles discussing the CPUC draft decision in the East County Magazine and the Santee Patch. Feel free to add comments!
– Click here then the “Subscribe” button in top left to automatically recieve CPUC notices about this SDG&E application for Quail Brush and two other unnecessary gas plants in San Diego.

 
Rendering 10.2012 power plant by applicant

Rendering by CoGentrix of Quail Brush fossil fuel plant

Keep the Pressure On! “Attend” from home this week and next…

Keep the Pressure On the CEC and CoGentrix and continue your dedication to stopping the Quail Brush power plant. While you’re at work or home, here are two events you can easily “attend” by calling in on your phone (put your phone on mute) or via online on Dec. 4 and 10. Easy steps are below. Listen in and be counted (and/or participate if you wish) to these California Energy Commission (CEC) meetings about Quail Brush. Click for detailed agendas and instructions (p. 1-3 for agendas, and p. 7 for instructions), but here is all you really need to know:

1) TUESDAY, December 4, 2012 – Beginning at 3:00 PM  This is primarily a closed meeting, but it opens with a brief public comment portion. The CEC invites the public and interested agencies to listen in and participate.

TELEPHONE ONLY (NO COMPUTER ACCESS)
Call 1-866-469-3239 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada) and when prompted enter the meeting number for the specific date: 12/4/12 – meeting number: 923 152 206
or
VIA ONLINE (“WEBEX”)
Go to https://energy.webex.com and enter the meeting number 923 152 206 When prompted, enter your information and the meeting password: pwd#1516
If you have a phone number with a direct line (not extension): After you login, a prompt will appear on-screen for you to provide your phone no. In the Number box, type your area code and phone no. and click OK. You will receive a call back on your phone for the audio of the meeting. If you have a phone number with an extension: After you login, a prompt will ask for your phone no. Click “CANCEL.” Instead, call 1-866-469-3239 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada). When prompted, enter the meeting number above and your unique Attendee ID number which is listed in the top left area of your screen after you login.

2) MONDAY, December 10, 2012 – Beginning at 10:30 AM
Same instructions as above, different meeting number:  927 041 698 (password same as above, pwd#1516)
This is a Status Conference with the following Agenda:
1. Call to Order
2. Reports from Applicant, Staff and Intervenors regarding the status of the Quail Brush Generation Project AFC.
3. Public Comment
Members of the public and other interested persons and entities may speak up to three minutes on a matter appearing on this agenda.
4. Closed Session (if necessary) Committee closed session consideration of the following Item: Deliberation by the Committee on any matters submitted for decision by the Committee including, but not limited to pending motions and scheduling.
5. Adjourn

If you have difficulty joining the meetings, please call the WebEx Technical Support number at 1-866-229-3239. To see if your computer is compatible, visit http://support.webex.com/support/system-requirements.html.
Please be aware that the meeting’s WebEx audio and on-screen activity may be recorded.

 

 

Fire Danger! What’s the Impact Zone of an Explosion at the proposed gas power plant? Applicant: No response.

Fire Safety 101:  Don’t build a fossil fuel GAS power plant in a high fire-hazard zone.
(Scroll to bottom to view “What can I do to help stop this power plant?“)

John Gibbins aerial photo of 2003 fire around Scripps Ranch area.

Aerial of 2003 Cedar Fire around Scripps Ranch area taken by John Gibbins/Union-Tribune.

Will our communities, homes, and our lives be protected? The City of Santee has stated it refuses to provide any emergency services to the power plant. The only response would be from San Diego, which has also opposed the project. Therefore, according to the California Energy Commission (CEC), to meet the local regulations and standards (LORS), a fire would need to be impossible, the risk zero. Really? Zero fire risk? Residents in San Diego and East County know all too well, this won’t be the case!

Required vs. Actual response times for San Diego Fire Stations to the proposed plant site:
Fire Response Times Chart
At the October 19, 2012, CEC Public Workshop, San Diego Deputy Chief Doug Perry stated the “drawdown” of emergency response resources and extended response times by the Fire Dept. are significant. We “can’t get there as quick as CityGate rules say that we should.” He continued, “It will take longer and the fires will potentially be larger.”

The applicant CoGentrix said that to bridge this time gap, they will create a “shelter in place” with breathing apparatus for the workers. Perry agreed it could be safer to keep the workers in the structure and let a wildlands fire go around it. SMT volunteer Sonja Ramos, who lives close to the proposed site, noted this shelter will be of no help to her and other local residents, though.

Photo from CEC Workshop 10/19/12 fire discussion

Deputy Fire Chief Perry and SMT volunteer and local resident Sonja Ramos discuss fire impacts at the Oct. 19, 2012 CEC Wksp, while Ziebart, hired lobbyist and applicant mgr. for CoGentrix (left), looks on.

Perry says he won’t put his people at risk if the plant itself has a fire. This is understandable due to high voltage and other dangerous issues. SDGE would have to come first and de-energize the plant. Perry notes that this will take awhile as in the recent case of fire in a Kearny Mesa facility. The fires burned for nearly three hours before being considered safe for fire crews to enter and do their job.

The cul-de-sac of the cul-de-sac…
At the CEC meeting, the public learned that CalFire and US Forest Service would not be dispatched until it was considered a 3rd or 4th alarm fire and only if the fire is on wildland (not within the plant facility). Perry said that in the San Diego area, we don’t always get the resources we need. “We’re the cul-de-sac of the state.” Yes, and many of us live in the cul-de-sac of a neighborhood with only one escape route. About 1,000 residents in three townhome/condo complexes live in the cul-de-sac area near Bushy Hill/Simeon Drive less than a mile southwest.  It’s unlikely residents will be able to effectively evacuate when there is only one escape route.

What if there is a natural gas explosion at the site…or another Santa Ana-wind driven fire like those of 2003 and 2007?

Santa Ana conditions are common in San Diego. Here, the 2003 Cedar Fire jumps Interstate 15.

Santa Ana conditions are common in San Diego. The October 2003 Cedar Fire jumped Interstate 15 and burned through major parts of Mission Trails Regional Park and Tierrasanta. Photo by CHARLES STARR / Union-Tribune

Communities at the west end of Santee and the West Hills High School are within 800 yards of the site. Fire Chief Perry stated that fires would be past the plant within five to ten minutes at the most.

Going up in smoke…..
A homeowner less than a mile south of the power plant site has been denied insurance on her condo by both Ameriprise and the Automobile Club (Triple A). She called Ameriprise to get specifics about her denial and was told, “It’s because of being in a fire zone.” Ameriprise utilizes “risk meter.com” (a member site used by insurance companies to determine insurance risk) and Google Maps. The company told her the area is extremely high risk, and that underwriters would not insure her condo or any other properties within 500 feet of a fire zone. Another homeowner living near Medina St. east of the proposed plant told SMT, “My husband and I were denied home insurance by Wawanesa Insurance Group due to the fire zone at Mission Trails Regional Park.”

So, if homeowners can’t get insurance due to proximity to a designated fire zone, why should a gas-powered plant covering 11+ acres within this zone get a green light? And how will a gas power plant impact the residents of the surrounding area? Residents worry about insurance coverage and rate increases compounding property value loss.

Unusual and fierce…
San Diego is known for its unusual and fierce wildlfire conditions. Santa Ana conditions produce winds blowing sometimes over 100 mph. Once started, fires are difficult if not impossible to stop in winds more than 25 mph, and fires are commonly blown up and down hillsides. The result is very fast spreading fires that typically get out of control quickly. One good spark and we’re all up in smoke.

The fire moves south down Oak Canyon toward the 52 freeway. Photo by Charles Starr.

A fire moves south down through Oak Canyon / East Elliott toward the 52 freeway. Photo by Charles Starr.

Additionally, brush fires in and along Mission Trails and East Elliott Open Space are common, especially along Highway 52. Locals (like myself) are used to seeing a few every year, with many started from car sparks or cigarettes thrown out car windows.

At the workshop, the applicant and the CEC tried to assure us that we are safe from fires and that fires in these types of power plants are rare. Meanwhile, CEC staff recommended that CoGentrix hire and train their own in-house fire brigade and have an onsite EMT. Our reply: We won’t take this risk.

Just recently in the news: “A natural gas power plant at Miramar remained offline this week after a weekend fire. Plant operator NRG Energy still is evaluating when its generator may return to service, said company spokeswoman Lori Neuman. An adjacent power plant run by San Diego Gas & Electric briefly had its fuel supply cut off as a result of the fire. The blaze broke out Saturday at about 6:15 p.m. at the plant on Consolidated Way north of the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Flames soared 30 feet into the air.”

CEC Fire Safety Expert says there is no risk of fires from the pipeline due to strict Federal regulations of new pipelines. Here’s a list of some pipeline accidents resulting in fires. We’re sure the folks living near the San Bruno gas power plant explosion in 2010 had also been reassured that there was no danger.

What can I do to help stop this power plant? 1) Click for easy instructions to email and add your name to the growing army of opposition against this not-needed fossil fuel plant. It’s critical each one of us does this. Strong public opposition can help sway the state commissioners into making the correct decision for our communities and park and/or 2) Come to a SMT meeting to get more info and find out about volunteering. Thank you!

Wed., Oct. 3 is Next Major Event to Stop the Power Plant – CEC Public Workshop

Get ready now for the California Energy Commission (CEC) Public Workshop on the Quail Brush power plant. It is CRUCIAL that once again we all show up and voice our opposition! We will NOT allow our hard work and thoughtful local jurisdiction decisions to be overriden at the state level. WE know what’s good for our cities, communities, park, and health. Just say NO to the power plant at Mission Trails!

DATE: Wednesday, October 3, at 2:00 pm. Allow extra time for parking. (See below for parking permit.) Note: If you can’t come at 2:00, DO show up later, as it is scheduled to continue until everyone who wants to speak or ask a question, does so. (See link below for how to participate remotely if you can’t attend.)

LOCATION: Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon, 92020, off the 125, Building 60 – Griffin Center (in front, southeast). For a highlighted map of the workshop location, directions, and a parking permit (p.2), click: CEC GROSSMT MTG MAP & PARKING PASS.

Per the CEC:  The workshop is being held to provide a public forum for staff, the project applicant, intervenors, the public and interested agencies to discuss issues related to the project. The technical areas that will be discussed are Air Quality, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Fire Protection, Public Health and Worker Safety. The workshop will also give the chance for the public to ask questions and comment about the project and the staff’s environmental review.

Arrangements have been made for people unable to attend the workshop to participate by telephone and/or by computer.
WebEx and Conference Call-in-toll-free number: 1-866-469-3239
Access code: 929522155    Meeting Password: meeting@2
For details, click here and scroll to page 2.

See you there Wednesday!

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob Opposes Power Plant


Below are the concerns that Dianne Jacob shared with Robert B. Weisenmiller, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. Click to see a copy of the letter.

“Dear Mr. Weisenmiller:

As Supervisor for the Second Supervisorial District for the County of San Diego, I am writing you today to express my opposition to the Quail Brush Genco LLC Generation Power Plant. I appreciate the opportunity to briefly comment on this project.

On March 28, the City of Santee formally took a position to oppose this project. I support this action and share the concerns the City has raised including potential impacts to the surrounding area due to noise, air quality, visual aesthetics, biological, water and emergency response that would be generated by this project.

Enclosed is a copy of the City of Santee’s resolution of opposition and comment letter to the proposed project. The California Energy Commission must fully consider the information provided in both of these documents. It is my intention to keep working closely with the City and demonstrate that this is the wrong location for this power plant.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to comment on this project. If you would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact me at (619) 531-5522 or via www.diannejacob.com