Saturday, December 02, 2006

New Power Plants For California

Good news, they are needed.

Permits on 2 power plants in Mexico OK
Environmental issues satisfied, judge rules
December 1, 2006

A federal judge in San Diego ruled yesterday against environmental groups that have waged a four-year legal battle against two power plants in Mexico built to supply electricity to Southern California.

Judge Irma Gonzalez concluded that the U.S. Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management and units of InterGen and San Diego's Sempra Energy took adequate environmental measures to justify the Department of Energy's presidential permits allowing construction of separate cross-border transmission lines to send electricity from Mexico into the United States.

The plants are located three miles across the border on the outskirts of Mexicali.

“It's a great outcome for us and the people of Southern California,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive of Sempra Generation, a Sempra Energy subsidiary that operates the company's power plants.

Sempra's 600-megawatt Termoel├ęctrica de Mexicali plant began operating in 2003 and has been sending enough electricity across the border to serve up to 400,000 homes in Southern California, Allman said.

Gonzalez, he said, “is satisfied that we met our obligations under the (U.S.) Clean Air Act and several other federal regulations.”

Officials of the U.S. Department of Energy, its Justice Department attorney, and InterGen, which built the 1,000-megawatt La Rosita power plant across the road from the Sempra plant, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Bill Powers, an organizer of the Border Power Plant Working Group that brought the suit, along with Wild Earth Advocates and Earth Justice, criticized the ruling.