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County opposes transmission lines

December 05, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

A resolution opposing transmission lines that would bring electricity from Mexico to California was adopted by the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday by a vote of 4-1.

Supervisor Joe Maruca cast the dissenting vote.

The transmission lines will export electricity from two power plants in Mexicali to San Diego County through Imperial County. One of those plants, Intergen Aztec Energy of Boston, will use turbines that do not meet California air pollution standards.

An increase in emissions in the Mexicali-Imperial Valley air basin will likely have a negative impact on the region's air quality, states a Nov. 28 document by the county Air Pollution Control District to U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, regarding the power plants.

Maruca opposed the resolution because it did not include opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that will provide fuel to the power plants.

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Birdsall said two of four turbines at Intergen's plant will use technology that meets California air pollution control standards. The resolution states the Board of Supervisors will oppose the transmission lines until Intergen installs technology that meets California air pollution control standards on all the plant's turbines.

San Diego-based Sempra Energy Resources also will use the transmission lines for its Mexicali power plant. Sempra spokesman Michael Clark has said Sempra's plant is being built to meet California air pollution control standards.

Also Tuesday, the county APCD did not bring its proposed changes to a public hearing regarding a plan to control airborne particle matter such as dust, dirt and soot, also known as PM-10 pollution.

Imperial County is in moderate violation of the pollution standard, so the district must submit the control plan.

The plan still needs to be updated, county Air Pollution Control Officer Stephen Birdsall said, but air district officials did not have a chance to meet with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yet.

"Once we find out what they want, it will take another few months to put together," he said.

The district is meeting with representatives from the EPA on Thursday, Birdsall said.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at (760) 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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