Supervisors approve third power plant resolution

February 20, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

Another border power plant resolution was approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, the third in as many months.

County Air Pollution Control District documents dating to September state emissions from the two power plants being built in Mexicali could harm the health of residents on both sides of the border.

Tuesday's resolution, proposed by Supervisor Hank Kuiper, states the board "urges and supports efforts by federal, state and local governments … to formulate an agreement establishing common air quality standards."

"We haven't failed yet, we just haven't found the solution," Kuiper said.

The board has been criticized for not acting sooner in voicing opposition to the plants.

"It's become a campaign issue when it never should have been," El Centro Mayor Larry Grogan said.

Two of the five supervisors are up for re-election in the March 5 primary.

The two plants will import electricity to San Diego County through Imperial County. One of those plants, Intergen Aztec Energy of Boston, will use two turbines that do not meet California air pollution standards.


The other plant, owned by San Diego-based Sempra Energy Resources, will use controlled turbines. But if the plant was built in California, Sempra also would have to offset emissions from the plant by providing money to help reduce air pollution in the area.

Supervisor Joe Maruca proposed a resolution in November condemning the plants but none of the other supervisors seconded Maruca's motion, killing the resolution.

A resolution opposing only the transmission lines exporting electricity from the two plants was adopted Dec. 4.

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

A second resolution, opposing the transmission lines and natural gas pipeline, was adopted Feb. 5.

That resolution denounced the natural gas pipeline and toughened its opposition to the electrical transmission lines that will support the two power plants. The resolution also opposed future power plants being built in the border region that do not meet California air pollution control standards.

The cities and mayors have always recognized that the health of their constituents comes first, Grogan said.

"We were not under pressure from lobbyists, except at the last moment, so we were always able to keep the perspective that the health of our children is number one," he said.

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

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