Gas Pipeline Threatens Park – Your Action Requested!

View of Mission Trails from East Fortuna Staging AreaSUMMARY:  SDG&E and SoCalGas have applied to the CPUC to build a new natural gas pipeline from Rainbow through MCAS Miramar to Mission Valley. Miramar wants the pipelines to go through Mission Trails Regional Park, East Elliott, and Goodman Ranch INSTEAD OF Miramar. The alternative routes would be a major degradation to our natural areas and a disruption to park visitors and native flora and fauna. They are unacceptable.

UPDATE: At this time, the Pipeline Safety and Reliability Project is undergoing an Environmental Impact Review (EIR). Save Mission Trails opposes the Spring Canyon Firebreak and Rainbow to Santee Non-Miramar alternative pipeline routes. Sign up on our Take Action page to stay informed and to be ready to act. Thank you.

KEY ACTION ITEM:  The number one action is to send an email or letter NOW – before the close of public comments on June 12. Your letter should explain why the pipeline should NOT travel through MTRP, East Elliott, or Goodan Ranch.
You may use the sample letter below (copy and paste) or (better) craft your own letter. ***Be sure to add your name and city to the bottom of the sample letter at the bottom of this post.
EMAIL your letter to SDgaspipeline@ene.com OR submit comments online here:  http://sdgaspipeline.cores.ene.com/SubmitComment/

DETAILS:  A 36″ high pressure natural gas “transmission line” is being built from Rainbow to Mission Valley to replace the 70 year-old pipeline currently in use. Unfortunately, Colonel Woodworth, the Miramar CO, wants the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and SDG&E to consider alternative routes that avoid Miramar completely. The two alternative routes would impact MTRP, the Goodan Ranch, and the City of Santee.

SDG&E would like the pipeline to pass through Miramar providing the cheapest and most direct route for this infrastructural upgrade project. However, without action by the affected communities, the alternatives could become reality.

The two alternative routes proposed by SDG&E pass through MTRP and the City of Santee. The first alternative route travels from Poway through the MTRP West Sycamore Area, the Goodan Ranch, the Fanita Ranch property, under Fanita Parkway, turning west under Carlton Oaks Blvd, and terminating at the Rumson Rd Natural Gas Pipeline access point. The second alternative route travels from Poway through East Elliott, down MTRP’s Spring Canyon, through the East Mission Trails Staging Area, under the SR-52/Mast intersection, under the West Hills Pkwy/Mast intersection terminating at the Rumson Rd Natural Gas access point.

Both of these alternatives are unacceptable! SMT will oppose this project through the grassroots methods which we employed to stop the Quail Brush Power Plant! That means YOU taking action NOW. If this Transmission Pipeline is placed in Santee and MTRP, we have strong concerns that another Power Plant proposal will follow.

MORE INFO:  View the CPUC’s PSRP website or SDG&E’s pipeline project website.

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS TO TAKE:
A) ATTEND a PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING to comment in writing or verbally. The May 25 meeting is in San Diego. These meetings provide another opportunity to comment and share info on the proposed project and the environmental review.

The public scoping meetings will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. AND 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., each day, at the following locations:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Pala Mesa Resort, Ballroom, 2001 Old Highway 395, Fallbrook, CA 92028

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Park Avenue Community Center, Auditorium 210 E. Park Ave., Escondido, CA 92025

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Alliant International University, San Diego Campus, Green Hall, 10455 Pomerado Road, San Diego, CA 92131

Project Name: Pipeline Safety and Reliability Project – New Natural Gas Line 3602 and De-rating Line 1600 (PSRP) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Notification – Legal Notice process.

B) ATTEND the SANTEE CITY COUNCIL MEETING on Wednesday, May 24, 7:00 PM. You may address this issue as a “communication” item. Turn in your speaker slip at the start of the meeting. A vote by the SCC is not planned, as the city already opposes the pipeline project passing through Santee. Regardless, attendance at Wednesday’s SCC meeting is always good, just in case a council member begins to waffle on this issue.

THANK YOU very much for your concern, attention, and ACTION!
~SMT Volunteers

Copy and paste the letter below or write your own comments.
——————————

Robert Peterson
California Public Utilities Commission
RE: Pipeline Safety and Reliability Project
c/o Ecology and Environment, Inc.
505 Sansome Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Pipeline Safety and Reliability Project (Application No. A.15-09-013)

I oppose both alternative routes of the proposed gas pipeline (Line 3602). Alternative routes through Mission Trails Regional Park and surrounding park expansion areas are not acceptable.

The first proposed alternative would disrupt the use of and degrade Mission Trails Regional Park’s West Sycamore Area including parts of the new Stowe Trail, as well as the Goodan Ranch, and Fanita Ranch. These preserved areas and parklands are used by hundreds of visitors daily. Maintaining the integrity of the preservation of these natural lands is imperative for existing wildlife, flora, and habitat.

The second proposed alternative is equally unacceptable and would degrade Mission Trails’s Spring Canyon and East Fortuna Staging Area, and also East Elliott, part of MTRP’s larger ecosystem. The park and its surrounding expansion area must be protected. A new gas pipeline does not belong in these natural habitats which are used recreationally by park visitors.

Please drop or oppose these alternative routes. Thank you.

###

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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

Give ’em a piece of your mind! Imminent CPUC Vote 2/28 and Upcoming CEC Forum 3/5

Mission Trails and proposed power plant site
Proposed site for fossil fuel plant? NO. Keep it green and the air clean.

UPDATE 2/28/13: CPUC President Peevey announced at the start of the meeting
that there will be no vote today. The meeting (and vote) will be held March 21
in San Diego.

UPDATE #2: CEC WORKSHOP 3/5/13 CANCELLED. CEC Reason – “They obtained the Cogentrix air pollution information they needed.”

REMINDER! CPUC VOTES on QUAIL BRUSH Thursday, March 21, 9:00 AM.
TO LISTEN IN, phone 1-800-857-1917 and enter passcode 92105 or access the CPUC online. The meeting starts at 9:00am; download the agenda.  IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, CALL OR EMAIL the CPUC TODAY (or Monday.)  What to say:  “My name is ________, and I support Administrative Law Judge Yacknin and Commissioner Ferron’s decisions on SDG&E application A110-5023. Our region has the power it needs without building more fossil fuel plants, especially a power plant at Mission Trails Regional Park.” (More talking points below.)

Three of these five CA Public Utilities Commissioners’ “yay” votes are needed to support the proposed decision, which will reject SDG&E’s power purchase agreement for Pio Pico and Quail Brush.
PHONE before the March 21 vote. 

— Michael Peevey, President, 415-703-3703
— Catherine Sandoval, Commissioner, 415-703-3700  catherine.sandoval@cpuc.ca.gov
If you have time to make just one call or email, contact Ms. Sandoval. She is currently undecided. 
— Carla Peterman, Commissioner, 415-703-1407 (Conflict of interest? She declined to recuse herself from the CPUC vote even though she previously voted in favor of Chula Vista’s Pio Pico via her former position with the CEC. Ms. Peterman is currently undecided.)
— Michel Peter Florio, Commissioner, 415-703-2440
— Mark Ferron, Commissioner, 415-703-2444
EMAIL your comments to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov
Type in the SUBJECT LINE: A1105023 – Support the Proposed Decision.
Be sure to INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, CITY, ZIP to be counted.
Use your own words or copy the Talking Points from the Sierra Club’s Fact Check or Save Mission Trails Sample Letter (scroll to mid-page).

UPDATE: THIS WORKSHOP CANCELLED BY CEC!
CEC PUBLIC WKSP – Tuesday, MARCH
5  at Grossmont College
Attend, Speak Out, and Submit Your Written Comment for the Record.
The CA Energy Commission Public Advisor will collect written statements at the workshop. If you can’t stay, please stop by to complete a written opposition statement. Verbal questions and comments are important, too.
WKSP CANCELLED When? Tuesday, March 5, starting at 1:30 PM (okay to come later, even after work – come when you can to fill out a written comment of opposition to the CEC)
Where? Griffin Gate Room at Grossmont College Directions and free parking permit p4-5
What? The specific workshop topic is Air Pollution, but you may comment in general on the proposed fossil fuel plant, as well.
Why??? Cogentrix does NOT want to see you there. They want us to forget about Quail Brush and go away. Their plan is to wear us out — Let’s prove them wrong. We WON’T give up. We have a beautiful park, our homes, our community, and our health to protect. Show up in orange and take a stand once again! No to Quail Brush forever!
If you cannot attend, please add your comment via the Online/Phone Instructions p2.
 

CPUC Vote Delayed AGAIN – Intensified Lobbying Threatens our Park and Communities

The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) vote on Quail Brush was rescheduled from Dec. 20 to Jan. 10, and now postponed again to Thursday, JANUARY 24. Meanwhile, Cogentrix has intensified its lobbying. Top executives, their high-priced lobbyist, and lawyers met on December 12 behind closed doors with the Commissioners’ staff in an effort to sway the upcoming vote.

Remember David and Goliath. Keep up the good fight! It is imperative we continue to grow the CPUC email campaign. Please commit to recruit AT LEAST TWO of your friends and family to email TODAY. Comment via Save Mission Trails with our letter and easy instructions. (The Sierra Club link will be repaired and posted soon.)

Or comment with your own words. 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.

A FEW TALKING POINTS . . . 

  • The opposition’s energy planning and requirement claims are based on grossly inaccurate assumptions and estimates made on ten-year-old data that project unrealistically high energy needs.
  • Their out-of-date estimates ignore California’s massive and successful recent efforts to conserve energy, efforts that are being paid for by State tax payers, and that are involving the participation of thousands of our citizens.
  • As a result of widespread commercial and residential energy conservation, today we do not have the hyper-inflated energy requirements that the opposition claims as the necessity for plants such as Quail Brush.
  • Bottom Line: Support the CPUC Proposed Decision for A1105023.

GOOD NEWS!! Save Mission Trails is one of the East County Magazine’s Newsmakers of the Year for 2012. Congratulations, everyone! (Note: While the blurb mentions that TWO CPUC officials have deemed the plant unnecessary, the entire commission must uphold this decision on January 24 to stop Quail Brush.)

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!

Save Mission Trails Rally in April

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)

Future San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Opposes Power Plant at Mission Trails

One of the reasons I am voting for Bob Filner for Mayor is because, like many community members, he believes the proposed Quail Brush power plant is a bad idea.  Bob was one of the people instrumental in forming Mission Trails Regional Park.  He, like many of us, believes that it must be protected.

“There is absolutely no reason why we should be exposing our children to dangerous and life-threatening toxins and decreasing our local air quality,” Filner announced at the last San Diego Planning Commission meeting.  “Mission Trails Park is a local natural treasure, enjoyed by cyclists, runners, and nature enthusiasts. It is wrong for us to knowingly harm the environmental quality of the park.”

“Installing a gas-powered plant in an area ravaged by the 2003 wildfires makes little sense. As a region, we should be investing in solar power and clean energy, not threatening our environment and the health of our communities,” said Filner.  “As Mayor, I will direct the city to work with the School District, the County, and the Port to bring clean power to public buildings and to help make solar power accessible to all.”

To see the full story – “Bob Filner Joins Opposition to Quail Brush Power Plant at Planning Commission” – go to OB Rag.