Power plants on county agenda

February 04, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday will again consider opposing proposed transmission lines and the North Baja Pipeline Project, which would support power-generating plants under construction in Mexicali.

Owners of the power plants, San Diego-based Sempra Energy Resources and Intergen Aztec Energy of Boston, plan to import electrical power from Mexico into California. According to the county Air Pollution Control District, pollution from the plants will have a negative impact on residents of the Imperial and Mexicali valleys.

The pipeline would provide natural gas fuel for the plants. The transmission lines will carry electricity from the power plants to San Diego. Both lines are planned to be built partially in Imperial County.

In September, Supervisor Joe Maruca requested a resolution against the power plants and any new permits for future plants.

The other four county supervisors did not support Maruca's proposal, hoping a meeting with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, would put pressure on Intergen to use air-pollution controls that meet California air quality standards. The Hunter meeting produced no tangible results.


Sempra's power plant meets California air-pollution control standards, but if the plant was built in California, Sempra would be required to offset the plant's air pollution by providing money to help reduce air pollution in the surrounding area.

In December, Supervisor Tony Tirado offered resolutions against the pipeline and transmission lines. The board only agreed to oppose the transmission line, saying natural gas is a cleaner alternative to diesel fuel, which is widely used in Mexicali.

Maruca disagreed with the board's action, saying the whole project, pipeline, transmission line and power plants, should be opposed.

The new transmission line resolution includes opposition to Intergen's lack of air-pollution controls and Sempra's lack of air pollution offsets.

The board also is scheduled to discuss sending a letter to William Van Leeuwen of Bull Frog Dairy to clear up a misunderstanding about building permits in the county.

According to county documents, Bull Frog is working to develop a dairy on the west side of the county but people at Bull Frog were incorrectly told "building permit fees could or would be waived."

The county Agriculture Commissioner's Office, with the county dairy attraction committee, has worked for several years to bring dairies to Imperial County.

The board wants to clear up the misunderstanding while showing support for Bull Frog Dairy. The proposed letter from the board states other funds, such as community development building grants and air-pollution control funds, might be available to Bull Frog.

The supervisors also are scheduled to discuss and possibly take action on:

· an Imperial Irrigation District request to locate a power supply feed on Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center property south of Brawley;

· approving state Assembly candidate Ramon Saucedo as a private sector representative of the Workforce Investment Board.

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

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