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Calexico to hear power plant presentation

February 04, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — County Air Pollution Control Officer Steve Birdsall will make a presentation to the Calexico City Council on Tuesday concerning construction of two power plants in Mexicali and related air pollution concerns.

After listening to Birdsall, the council could pass a resolution opposing the construction of the 80-mile long North Baja Pipeline, which would provide natural gas to those two power plants.

The council also could pass a resolution opposing construction of transmission lines, which would connect the under-construction Mexicali power plants near Mount Signal with the huge U.S.-owned power lines just across the U.S.-Mexico border that carry electricity across the mountains east of San Diego.

Similar resolutions have been passed by the El Centro, Brawley and Holtville city councils. The county Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing the transmission lines but not the pipeline.

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North Baja Pipeline is a joint venture between San Diego's Sempra Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. of Bethesda, Md. It could connect a Texas-Los Angeles natural gas pipeline with the under-construction Gasoducto Bajanorte running from the Arizona/Baja California border to Tijuana.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has tentatively approved the plans of Portland, Ore.-based North Baja Pipeline LLC to bury the pipeline and export natural gas to Mexico. Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, has protested FERC's approval. Filner has asked the commission to reconsider its decision.

Last week the California State Lands Commission approved North Baja's plans despite a presentation by Birdsall and other county officials.

If Filner's request is unheeded by the federal commission and Imperial County does not file a lawsuit against the lands commission, construction on the pipeline could start by June.

Birdsall will be making his presentation after returning from last weekend's Border Trade Alliance Conference in Mexico City. He attended the conference as BTA's agricultural adviser.

The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 608 Heber Ave.

In other business, Calexico Unified School District Superintendent Roberto Moreno will make a presentation concerning facility needs of the school district and funding alternatives to Mello-Roos assessments.

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva has been a vocal critic of the Mello-Roos taxes assessed to developers looking to build market-rate apartments here.

For the past year, Moreno and Grijalva have been on a committee that looked at alternatives to Mello-Roos that would allow the school district to grow without stifling development.

After Moreno, the council will hear from city Public Works Director Mariano Martinez concerning the million-gallon water tank near Grant Street on the west side of town.

According to Martinez, trusses and gussets on the 1948-vintage tank are close to failure and there is a concentration of cell corrosion on the roof.

The council will choose from two $250,000 or so bids from engineers looking to fix the tank.

CB&I Water Inc. of San Luis Obispo said it could do the job for $247,570. Pittsburgh Tank & Tower of Henderson, Ky., said it can do the job for $256,575.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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