Emergency letter objects to power plants

January 16, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

For the second time in four months, Imperial County has not been notified of an important deadline on two power plants being built in Mexicali.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to have a hearing today in Washington, D.C., to certify an environmental study and report on a natural gas pipeline that will be partially located in the county. The pipeline will provide fuel to power plants owned by San Diego-based Sempra Energy Resources and Intergen Aztec Energy of Boston.

The companies plan to import electrical power to California from their power plants in Mexico. According to the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, pollution from the plants will have a negative effect on the health of county residents.

The county Board of Supervisors wants to comment on the environmental report but only learned of the hearing Tuesday.

The supervisors approved an emergency letter to the commission stating the board strongly objects to the certification of the study and report.


The letter states the board is concerned with the lack of notice or opportunity to comment or present a case on the final documentation to the FERC.

The county received copies of the environmental study and report Jan. 8 but no notice of the commission hearing, the letter states.

The county was forced to act quickly in September when the state Public Utilities Commission ruled to shorten the comment period on a draft environmental review of transmission lines for the power plants to Sept. 19. The county received the ruling Sept. 18.

At that time Supervisor Joe Maruca said the pipeline project was dumped on the county and "slickered through" the federal process.

Another hearing by the California State Lands Commission is scheduled for Jan. 30.

Copies of the letter were sent to California senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, and state Sen. Jim Batten, R-La Quinta, and Assemblyman David Kelley, R-Idyllwild.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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