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Voice: Sempra says it is building plant to highest standards

November 27, 2001

Your Nov. 16 editorial ("Speak Up, Guys") condemning several Imperial County supervisors for not passing a motion to oppose two power plants being built in Mexicali was short on fact and long on exaggeration.

Your newspaper has known since February that Sempra Energy Resources is voluntarily building our power plant to meet California's strict air-emissions standards.

Our plant's emissions are below EPA significant impact levels. Yet you continue to misrepresent the Sempra Energy plant as a health hazard to Imperial County.

In the past nine months, three reporters from the Imperial Valley Press have heard details on how the Sempra power plant is using the most advanced environmental controls available. Yet you conveniently have ignored these facts in your editorial.

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You also wrongly accused us of building our plant in Mexico because of "lax environmental regulations and poor enforcement." On the contrary, we are building our Mexicali generating plant to the same rigorous standards as other plants we are building in California. In fact, we have committed in writing not only to build our Mexicali plant to California environmental standards, but also to install emissions-monitoring equipment and share the data with Imperial County. We are firm in this commitment.

Another overlooked fact is that Sempra Energy already has helped create a cleaner U.S.-Mexico air basin by replacing dirtier fuels with clean-burning natural gas. In the past year alone, our natural gas operations in Mexicali and Rosarito have substantially reduced air emissions by the equivalent of 11 power plants like the ones we are building in Mexicali and California.

Finally, your editorial says our power plant will bring no benefits to Imperial County. Have you forgotten that the plant will bring much-needed electricity to help solve California's ongoing power shortage? Also, the plant will improve the energy infrastructure in the Tri-Valley region.

Hopefully, you will reconsider your position on Sempra's energy projects in Mexico. The economic livelihood and future growth of the border region depend on a robust new energy supply. No one wants to relive the energy crisis.

MICHAEL R. NIGGLI

President

Sempra Energy Resources

San Diego

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