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IID: Developers should ‘take heed of warnings'

January 23, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors on Tuesday passed a resolution stating that all generation facilities planned for construction in the Mexicali Valley "take heed of warnings expressed by citizens on both sides of the border and by regulatory authorities in California regarding negative impacts on air quality resulting from such construction, as currently under way or planned."

The board's action came at the request of county Air Pollution Control Officer, Stephen Birdsall, who made a brief presentation on the issue. The resolution was adopted on a 4-0 vote, with Division 5 Director Rudy Maldonado absent.

The resolution goes on to urge power companies to use the best available control technology, at a minimum, when building power plants, and to obtain emission offsets. Offsets are reductions of emissions equal to any new amounts created by the new power plants. Offsets are required in the Imperial Valley.

In other business, the board was supplied with copies of the recently released draft environmental impact report for the pending water transfer to San Diego. Copies are working their way to the public and will eventually be available in local libraries and through the IID's public affairs office, as well as online.

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The public has until April 26, 2002, to comment on the draft EIR, and the IID will hold public workshops to discuss the issue. The dates for the workshops have not been set.

On a related matter, the board briefly discussed how to avoid the perception that the Valley will be left with insufficient water for economic development after the various water transfers are in effect.

The board also:

· received an update on the efficiency study's preliminary planning office and its activities. The board was also updated on efforts to reduce the district's vehicle fleet. One of the first steps was to restrict the taking home of all transportation vehicles. Utility vehicles, such as needed for emergency responses, are not included in the restriction.

District management was also urged to include employees in all efficiency study committees.

As a result of the efficiency study, a hiring freeze was imposed Oct. 25, through Dec. 31, 2001, with no new jobs created and no vacant jobs filled.

IID General Manager, Jesse Silva, said new positions budgeted and approved for 2002 will not be filled, and any jobs that become vacant will be brought before the board for approval to fill.

Board members urged Silva to hire summer interns and allow lateral moves internally.

When asked how the district will meet the job reductions identified in the efficiency study, Division 1 Director Andy Horne said certain positions that become vacant might not get filled.

The board expects to reduce the district's work force through attrition.

· approved a new energy cost adjustment power rate, after holding three public hearings.

The ECA was established to reflect the fluctuation between the budgeted cost of fuel and purchased power and the actual costs as they are determined. The rate change is not expected to affect what customers are paying, 7.87 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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