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E.C., county suing commission over pipeline EIR

March 07, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

The county and the city of El Centro are suing the California State Lands Commission, challenging its approval of an environmental report on a natural gas pipeline proposed to be built partially in Imperial County.

The pipeline will feed two power plants under construction in Mexicali. County officials say emissions from the plants will be harmful to the health of people in the Imperial and Mexicali valleys.

The commission approved the North Baja Pipeline on Jan. 30 in Sacramento over the objection of county officials.

San Diego-based Sempra Energy and Pacific Gas and Electric of Bethesda, Md., are building the pipeline.

County Counsel Ralph Cordova said the lawsuit was filed March 1 by the county's representatives, Remy, Thomas and Moose of Sacramento. In addition to the state commission, the lawsuit names North Baja Pipeline LLC of Portland, Ore., Sempra and Boston-based Intergen Aztec. Sempra and Intergen are building the plants.

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission tentatively approved plans for the pipeline. The pipeline needed approval at the state and federal agency levels.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management denied a county protest on the environmental report Monday. The BLM participated in the report because the project would cross federal land under the jurisdiction of the bureau in the Palm Springs, El Centro and Yuma field offices.

County officials filed the protest Feb. 7.

Supervisor Tony Tirado said the Imperial Irrigation District may have a say in permitting the pipeline since it will have to cross the All-American Canal to get into Mexico.

The El Centro City Council voted Wednesday to contribute a maximum of $20,000. The IID Board of Directors voted last week to contribute $50,000 to the lawsuit, but will not be a participant.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez contributed to this story.

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