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Our Opinion: Speak up, guys

November 16, 2001

Joe Maruca forwarded a resolution to his fellow county supervisors this week to oppose the building of power plants in Mexicali, plants that would bring us nothing in Imperial County but pollution.

And he got exactly zero support for his resolution.

We are sure the county supervisors had their reasons for voting against the resolution. Instead, they didn't have much to say at all, simply not providing a second to Maruca's motion and going on with their business.

We think it is the supervisors' duty as public servants to tell us why they shot down Maruca's idea, which certainly seems admirable on the surface.

Maybe it was because the other supervisors realized that the effort to stop the plants was futile, that the plants are already being built in another country and there is nothing Imperial County can do to stop the projects.

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Maybe it was because Maruca's resolution would have taken a shot at a natural gas pipeline project that will go through Imperial County and bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes to the county each year. That pipeline would feed the two power plants and other area facilities with natural gas. We don't have a big issue with the pipeline, either. It might prompt needed industrial development in the region, actually.

Maybe it was because the supervisors actually support something that will help others in the state and in Mexico but will bring us in Imperial County nothing but pain. Allergies and asthma are already endemic here, and will only get much worse with two huge power plants across the border spewing pollutants.

We don't know the answers because the supervisors have not said why they didn't support Maruca's stance. We don't want to believe the worst of allegations floating around. We want to believe our county leaders do things for right and righteous reasons.

So?

Well, county Supervisor Hank Kuiper did respond, saying he has three grandsons who live in the Valley and all have asthma. The reason he cited for not approving the resolution was that it might antagonize people across the border.

So what. Yes, we have friends across the border, some in the government, but the two plants are being built by and will be run by private United States-based companies that we think located in Mexico for reasons of lax environmental regulations and poor enforcement. And those companies are proving time and time again that they don't care what we think, and don't care about the quality of life, in Imperial County.

We'd like to hear from the rest of the supervisors about why they shot down Maruca's resolution. Kuiper, who at least went on the record with a statement, albeit one short on substance, says the supervisors are sympathetic to the environmental concerns expressed in the resolution.

So, supervisors Leimgruber, Tirado and Wyatt, tell the public why you opposed the resolution. It is your duty as public servants.

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