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

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
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Milestones in the fight to stop the power plant. Cogentrix pushes pause button, but don’t get too comfortable.

Celebrate our victories, but stay vigilant for the sake of our park, our communities, and our health. Currently, the Quail Brush Power Plant bordering Mission Trails Regional Park and Santee is in a one-year suspension. Scroll down to read more about what a suspension means, what happens next, and for photos of recent events.

Milestones
August 29, 2011 – Cogentrix files application (AFC) for Quail Brush power plant (QB) with CA Energy Commission (CEC). With a few exceptions, the general public is not notified.
January 3, 2012 – Randomly attending a bimonthly Mission Trails Park meeting, a Santee resident learns of plans for QB and begins movement to alert citizenry.
March 12, 2012 – Stop the Santee Power Plant Rally informs hundreds during morning rush hour and alerts the media.
March 28, 2012 – Santee City Council unanimously passes a resolution opposing QB.
May 29, 2012 Save Mission Trails incorporates.
Spring 2012 and continuing on – Thousands sign petitions, send letters, attend rallies and workshops. A strong coalition of environmental groups and local representatives both Democrat and Republican take a stand against QB.
July 19, 2012 – San Diego Planning Commission votes 4 to 1 rejecting re-zoning of open space land around park for power plant.
September 4, 2012 – Santee School District votes 4 to 1 to oppose QB.
September 24, 2012 – San Diego City Council unanimously denies Cogentrix’ appeal of Planning Commission’s decision.
December 18, 2012 – San Diego Mayor Bob Filner submits letter to CPUC opposing new fossil fuel plants and affirming a vision for the city to be a leader in better alternatives.
March 21, 2013 – CPUC unanimously denies SDG&E power purchase agreement for QB.
March 21, 2013 – Mission Trails Regional Park Task Force unanimously votes to officially oppose QB.
April 16, 2013 – CEC approves Cogentrix request for one-year suspension of QB.

The one-year suspension of Quail Brush will expire on April 15, 2014. Cogentrix needs to either wait until the expiration date or file a motion with the CEC to revive its review of the AFC sooner than April 16, 2014. If the CEC grants the motion, Cogentrix can restart at any time.

What happens when the suspension expires? Is the project canceled or automatically active? According to Eric Solorio, CEC project manager for QB, “My reading of the Order is staff will resume its review of the AFC on April 16, 2014.”

What now? Stay connected with Save Mission Trails. We remain active in the community to continue to get the word out about Cogentrix’ ill-conceived gas plant in a designated open space area, high fire-hazard zone, close to schools, residents, and the beautiful and peaceful (for now) Mission Trails.

Filner & SMT at EarthFair
Mayor Filner at SMT Booth, EarthFair, Balboa Park, April 21, 2013
EarthFair photo #2
Over 1,000 petitions opposing QB signed at EarthFair, April 21, 2013.
Dale at SMT party
Santee Councilmember Jack Dale addresses SMT celebration gathering, April 26, 2013.
SMT kids and cake!
SMT kids eat cake! Celebrating our victories….and looking to the future, April 26, 2013.
Explore MTRP Day
Explore Mission Trails Day at MTRP Equestrian Center (adjacent to proposed power plant site), May 18, 2013
MTRP Day Photo #2
Kids want clean air! Young citizens sign statements of opposition to a power plant by the park, May 18, 2013.

Thanks for your support. Let’s work together to keep our energy green and the air clean!

Biker in MTRP

CPUC Win is Temporary – Now CEC Decision Looms

UPDATE:  On April 8, 2013, Cogentrix requested the California Energy Commission (CEC) allow the corporation a one-year suspension of the Quail Brush Generation Project. The CEC approved the suspension on April 16. CEC staff and responsible agencies “shall cease work on the Application and any pending motions are stayed.” The suspension will expire April 15, 2014.  During this time, Save Mission Trails will continue to build awareness of the proposed fossil fuel plant, work on coalition-building and growing the opposition, and remain alert for any threats to the land near Mission Trails. Please support our work!

With a standing room only crowd as witness, the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously on March 21, 2013, that SDG&E currently has enough power, and therefore cannot purchase power from the proposed Quail Brush gas plant (QB) sited next to Mission Trails Regional Park. However, SDG&E can reapply for QB and/or other power plants by stating a need for more power to come online in 2018.
Click here to help protect the park FOR GOOD today!

Save Mission Trails now invites you to address the CEC, which is slated to deny or approve QB based on siting issues (environmental, air quality, fire, land use regulations, etc.) – irregardless of need. If the CEC votes to deny QB, our park and local communities are protected for good, not just for a couple years. But a vote to approve QB would allow for the grading and perpetual destruction surrounding our park and neighborhoods to begin. The CEC decision looms; QB must be rejected. You can help right now by urging the CEC to deny this gas plant FOR GOOD. Been there, done that? Please ask a friend or neighbor to do so. Thanks!

Below is more info on the outcome of the March 21 CPUC Vote, including the actual text of the order (NOTE #3), a video clip, articles, and quotes.

March 21 2013 CPUC Mtg

The CPUC ORDER, March 21, 2013, last page reads (NOTE #3):

“D1303029 Determining San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Local Capacity Requirement and Granting Partial Authority to Enter into Purchase Power Tolling Agreements.
IT IS ORDERED that: 

1. San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s request for authority to enter into a purchase power tolling agreement with Escondido Energy Center is approved. 

2. San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s request for authority to enter into purchase power tolling agreements with Pio Pico Energy Center and Quail Brush Energy Project is denied without prejudice.

3. San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) is authorized to meet a local capacity requirement need of up to 298 MW beginning in 2018. SDG&E shall meet this need either by issuing a new request for offers or, in the alternative, it may bring an application for approval of purchase power tolling agreements with either Pio Pico Energy Center and/or Quail Brush Power amended to coordinate with the anticipated retirement in 2018 of once-through cooling generation units. SDG&E shall adjust the commencement date, as appropriate, to coordinate with the anticipated retirement of once-through cooling generation units and other changing conditions in its service territory. 

4. San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s July 9, 2012, and August 15, 2012, motions to supplement the evidentiary record are granted. 

5. San Diego Gas & Electric Company shall create a Local Generation Balancing Account for the Escondido Energy Center. The Local Generation Balancing Account shall be applied to all customers in San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s service area, on an equal per kilowatt-hour basis by customer class. 

6. San Diego Gas & Electric Company shall create a Local Generation Charge to recover new generation costs on a non-bypassable basis from all customers. 

7. All pending motions that are not otherwise granted in this order are deemed denied. 

8. Application 11-05-023 is closed. 
This order is effective immediately. 
Dated March 21, 2013, at San Diego, California. MICHAEL R. PEEVEY President, 
MICHEL PETER FLORIO, CATHERINE J.K. SANDOVAL, MARK J. FERRON, CARLA J. PETERMAN Commissioners”

VIDEO 
TV coverage on 5 news stations

A COUPLE ARTICLES
East County Magazine articles about CPUC decision and ramifications
San Diego Free Press article with comment by Sierra Club’s Pete Hasapopoulos

QUOTES FROM THE DAY – Heard at the podium…
“One step for SDG&E’s pockets, one giant step backward for mankind.”
“Sunny San Diego = a Golden Opportunity to be Solar San Diego. If Germany can do it, so can San Diego.”
“It’s a math problem:  More peaker plants means needing more renewables to meet the mandates.”
“A three-year-old can walk from Quail Brush to the nearest playground. This isn’t right.”
“The choice is between need and greed.”
and from Commissioner Ferron, “This meeting has confirmed what I’ve always known about San Diegans. You are passionate, well-informed, and courteous.”

Save Mission Trails (and that means you!) continues to be passionate about our cause to stop the power plant, and to keep our hills green and our air clean! 

What’s Going On Behind Closed Doors? What Can I Do?

What’s Going on Behind Closed Doors regarding power plants at Mission Trails/Santee and in Chula Vista? Turko Video The CPUC, CEC, Cogentrix, SDGE, CleanTech, and other industry and corporate stakeholders (excluding the public and the press) will meet in San Diego one day before the CPUC votes on whether the power plants are actually needed, four months after the CPUC correctly rejected these fossil fuel-burning plants as not needed.
Click above for what Turko says on 3/6/13 about this secret meeting.
UPDATE: Turko File Follow-Up 3/11/13 says a lawsuit has been filed to stop the meeting.

What You Can Do Now to Prevent new unneeded Fossil Fuel-burning Plants in our region, including grading hills for an 11-stack monster adjacent to majestic Mission Trails park and open space area. Want to stop a massive waste of taxpayer dollars?

1. MOST IMPORTANT – Attend the CPUC meeting THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 8:00 AM  [NOTE TIME REVISION: RALLY AT 8:00, PUBLIC COMMENT SIGN-IN AT 8:30, COMMENT SIGN-IN CLOSED and MEETING STARTS AT 9:00 AM. COME AT 8:00 IF YOU CAN!]
We need a huge show of force–yes, again!–to tell the CPUC to uphold the November draft decision which rejects these power plants. Take off work to attend, if you can.
PRE-MEETING RALLY: 8:00 AM at the site – Public Comment sign-in 8:30 AM
LOCATION: 5520 Overland Avenue, San Diego, 92123 — County Operations Center’s Conference Center (Campus Center) in Kearny Mesa. Check this website for any changes before you go.
BE COUNTED! We encourage EVERYONE to speak (1 minute or less), or at least submit a written comment on a speaker slip. Arrive by 8:30 AM to sign in.
SIMPLY STATE: “I support the CPUC’s A.L.J. and alternate draft decisions”
(at a minimum) and your name.

2. If you can’t attend, you still have a voice. Email and/or phone the CPUC today and ask two friends to do the same.

3. Over 600 letters opposing Cogentrix’s Quail Brush are on the CA Energy Commission (CEC)’s public docket. Let’s make it 1,000! Read some of the letters and send yours — or commit two friends to do so — today. Easy instructions on the Email Activism Page No. (2). PLEASE NOTE: The CEC will reject, approve, or withdraw the Mission Trails/Santee power plant application this spring, regardless of the CPUC vote. Don’t let the CEC and Cogentrix grade our beautiful park hills and pollute our air.

4. Ask Governor Brown to speak on behalf of the public interest and to relieve the pressure on the CPUC to rewrite their decision in favor of SDG&E/Cogentrix allowing another ratepayer rip-off.

5. Have fun at a SMT volunteer community outreach event! Join an early-morning hike up Cowles Mountain and/or petition-signing at the trailhead on March 16. Details on the Meetings Page.

6. “Like” and share our Facebook page and tweet us!

FAST FACTS: Peak electricity demand has been stable in San Diego and statewide since 1999. Generation capacity of gas-fired plants is in excess of 30% now. The Los Angeles basin will add 2,000 MW of gas-fired power plants this summer that will further balloon generation capacity. And yet another 2,000 MW are slated for construction elsewhere in California.

SDG&E has ample power generation without San Onofre. The required reserves is 15 to 17%. On the hottest hour of the year on Sept. 14, 2012, SDG&E still had reserves of about 24% without San Onofre.

BOTTOM LINE: The public would be saddled with at least $1.2 billion in construction and finance costs for just Pio Pico and Quail Brush in exchange for only 23 permanent jobs in our region. Claims by SDG&E that peak demand is rising and new peaker plants are needed for the hottest days are false.

We are steadfast in fighting the good fight. Thank you for all your hard work!

Orange Overpowers Opposition! Next Up: CPUC Vote Feb. 28

CPUC Rally

UPDATE: THE CPUC VOTE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED (FOR A 4TH TIME) TO THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28.  CONTINUE TO PHONE/EMAIL THE CPUC.

AT THE FEB. 1 CPUC PUBLIC FORUM, over one hundred citizens voiced their opposition to Quail Brush and their support for the CPUC’s draft decision denying SDG&E a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for three fossil fuel plants. Orange overpowered the opposition and clearly stated the lack of necessity for these new polluting plants in the San Diego area. Check out the Highlights — videos, news articles, quotes, and photos below.

Sea of orange T-shirt wearers

YOU CAN STILL CALL OR EMAIL THE CPUC TODAY.
“I support the Administrative Law Judge’s decision and Commissioner Ferron’s decision on SDG&E application A110-5023.”
Phone before the Wed. Feb. 28 vote:
Michael Peevey, President, 415-703-3703
Catherine Sandoval, Commissioner, 415-703-3700
Michel Peter Florio, Commissioner, 415-703-2440
Mark Ferron, Commissioner, 415-703-2444
Carla Peterman, Commissioner, 415-703-1407
and/or Email public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov
Include in the Subject Line: A1105023 – Support the Proposed Decision. Be sure to INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, CITY, ZIP to be counted.
Feel free to copy and use Talking Points from the Sierra Club’s Fact Check: SDG&E’s Billion Dollar Power Plant Scheme or Save Mission Trails sample letter (scroll to mid-page).

NEXT UP:  CPUC MTG/VOTE – WED, FEB. 28, 9:00 AM – San Francisco
Again on the agenda is the vote on the CPUC’s proposed decision to deny SDG&E power purchasing agreements for Quail Brush and two other gas plants. Click link for directions to listen in or watch the live video.  Here is the agenda: see page 25, Item 24, A1105023. Prepare now to watch the video by trying to watch an archived video. You needRealPlayer installed to watch CPUC videos. You can download RealPlayer for free here.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CPUC PUBLIC FORUM in San Diego on Feb. 1
Save Mission Trails applauds the elected officials who showed up and spoke up against Quail Brush (Mission Trails/Santee) and Pio Pico (Chula Vista) gas plants:

Dave Roberts speaks at Forum
SD County Supervisor Dave Roberts

– San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts
– Santee Councilmember
Jack Dale
– Former state assemblymember (and current Sierra Club San Diego Chair) Lori Saldaña,
and SMT thanks these organizations which helped organize and/or added their strong voices:
Environmental Health Coalition (wearing blue), Preserve Wild Santee, Sierra Club, and the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre.

NEWS CLIPS – VIDEOS
YouTube Video: Fox, Ch.8, Ch.10
CBS Ch.8
and NEWS ARTICLES
East County Magazine
San Diego Union-Tribune
Santee Patch

OVERHEARD AT THE PODIUM at the CPUC Forum
“San Diego already has the highest electricity rates in the country: $190 per 100 kilowatt hours. We want to be known as the clean energy capital instead.”

“Peaker plants would not have helped us when the grid was down in 2011.”

“San Diegans should not be punished for conserving energy.”

“California is known for innovation. San Diego is known for sun. The time is now.”

CPUC Representative Denise Tyrrell, taking notes,  listens to nearly 60 speakers opposed to the power plants. Only one in favor of Quail Brush.
CPUC Representative Denise Tyrrell, taking notes, listens to nearly 60 speakers opposed to the power plants. Only one spoke in favor of Quail Brush.

“Quail Brush and Pio Pico were quietly going through the CEC permitting process BEFORE the CPUC even determined a need.”

“San Diego has 7,000 megawatts of potential energy from rooftop and parking lot solar.”

“Where’s my Power Purchase Agreement for solar generation?”

“A policy change could change civilization. What we are leaving for our children?”

“The corporatocracy is short-sidedly pursuing profits while you and I pay the costs: decreased jobs by 10 solar to 1 peaker plant, and increased health problems, utility rates, and global warming gases.”

“Where is SDG&E tonight? Why was the decision delayed? Do they have another game going on that they don’t need to be here?”

and, the favorite, “I’m not against peaker plants. I just put a twenty-two-panel peaker plant on my roof!

You can add your own comments here and check back after Feb. 28 for updates!

We Need an Army to show up Friday evening, Feb. 1, at the CPUC Public Forum!

What happened at the CPUC meeting? If you asked that question, then you are concerned about your community or park. Everyone who cares about this issue and wants to stop the Quail Brush power plant by Mission Trails Regional Park must show up at the CPUC Public Forum on Friday, February 1, 6PM,  Al Bahr Shrine Center, 5440 Kearny Mesa Rd, San Diego – click here for Google map.  Rally at 5:15 PM in the Al Bahr Parking Lot. See additional image for directions and map below.  Save the Date, Save the Park. 

Okay! But what happened at the meeting? The vote was delayed AGAIN. Why? Cogentrix and SDGE successfully lobbied the CPUC to delay the vote a third time for two more weeks. They requested the CPUC take a “wait and see” approach rather than reject the gas plant. Meanwhile, the CPUC agreed to hold a Public Forum in San Diego led by their top SoCal staff person.

Public MeetingSDGE will no doubt roll out their allies. For example, if SDGE treats this like the CPUC public meetings on wildfire expenses last year, we can expect to see recipients of their philanthropy that have nothing to do with this issue. So wear orange and let’s unite once again! Stop the polluting fossil fuel plant near our homes and MTRP!

This location is confirmed! AL Bahr Phone: (858) 292-0092

Turn into the driveway on either side of the Hampton Inn. The Al Bahr Center is behind the inn
Turn into the driveway on either side of the Hampton Inn. The Al Bahr Center is behind the inn
albahr-map
 

Rally Reminder! Tierrasanta Saturday 9/15 4-6 PM

Join the SMT Rally – Sat, Sept 15 – 4-6 pm at the intersection of Santo Rd. and Tierrasanta Blvd.  Wear orange and bring a sign (or borrow one of ours) to grow awareness of the power plant among the Tierrasanta community and encourage opposition letters/phone/emails/fax to the San Diego councilmembers.  SMT T-shirts available by donation at the event. Follow up with the free concert (below)!

Tierrasanta Concert in the Park- Sat,  Sept 15 – 6-9 pm – Following the rally, we’ll have fun at Tierrasanta’s final summer concert (“High Tides” with reggae/roots/ska music) while doing public outreach and community building. – Tierrasanta Recreation Center

Follow up with a SMT  Community Outreach Meeting  –
Tues, Sept 18 and 25 – 6:30-7:45 pm at Tierrasanta Library, 4985 La Cuenta Dr, San Diego 92124  Help defeat QB and save Mission Trails and adjoining communities! Get status reports/info, meet group members, and volunteer.  See you there!