CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION AND BAYVIEW HUNTERS POINT
I saw an announcement from the California Energy Commission (CEC) requesting those interested to join the commissioners to discuss the future of the distribution and the transmission lines that traverse the length and width of this great State of California. The workshop was held April 5, 2004 in Sacramento.
This is not the first time I have been to the CEC building which is situated at 1516 Ninth Street in Sacramento with lots of parking in the State Garage a block away.
The presentations focused of the transmission lines and the language was very technical. Leading experts from all the major power companies were there and so was California Independent System Operator (CA ISO). And of course the CEC Commissioners.
The CEC Commissioners were open to ideas and I personally felt that the dialog was relevant to the technical aspect of distribution and transmissions but what were missing were the Environmental Justice issues. Andrew Bozeman who I had requested to join this workshop accompanied me. CEC gave us two an opportunity to speak on a panel after the initial technical presentation.
The discussion clearly saw that there is a need to get rid on the few bottlenecks that hinder the smooth flow of the energy. The leading energy operators agreed that the transmission lines that we have now should be maintained and in many cases replaced. We have in California many new power plants and a surplus of energy but the issue that haunts us is the distribution system. It will fail us if we do not maintain the Transmission Lines so relevant to the distribution system.
The power plants in Southern California did not fall prey to the 2001 Energy Crisis. Again and again we all noticed that the GRID system in the South is stable and the pathways more accommodating. Again and again we noticed in the North that bottlenecks prevented the smooth flow of distribution.
The CA ISO tried to give some explanation but we could all see that we do have a serious difficulty dealing with the energy providers, CA ISO, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and CEC. You also have the Department of Energy and because of the 2001 Energy Crisis the Justice Department.
As I stated before this discussion was purely technical. The proponents have come to an understanding that they have screwed things up so bad that they now need a concerted plan of action. This has not been done before. Pacific Gas and Electric for example declared bankruptcy and the ratepayers had to bail it out by over $8 billion. The ratepayers always are the ones who lose but the ratepayers are never consulted when very bad decision is made. So will PG&E change their ways and make amends? Maybe.
A couple of independent energy providers stated how they felt they were left in the dark. They now need money to complete a couple of power plants but there is no money forth coming. There was talk to create an area that could be used as an Ō Energy Bank Ō - it was good talk with sound ideas that could be put into action with a vision and leadership.
I must congratulate the CEC commissioners for allowing us to join the representatives of the leading energy providers and other experts to join the panel discussion. Andrew Bozeman and I were the only ones who really focused on Environmental Justice issues and our remarks were well taken.
I got an opportunity to speak about our Transmission Lines and spoke about my participation in the proposed building of the Jefferson-Martin Transmission Line. I spoke about the lack of sound energy distribution in the City and County of San Francisco. The need to shut down the two aging toxic spewing over 60 years power plants at Mirant and Hunters Point.
This panel gave me an opportunity to explain how power plants were always placed in poor community mostly where people of color lived. It also gave me an opportunity to state to the experts present how San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the MayorÕs Office of Economic Development wanted to place 3 Combustible Turbine Engines in the Southeast Sector.
These 3 Combustible Turbine Engines would use treated sewage also known as secondary effluents and secondary effluents discharge toxins in the form of pathogens that can adversely impact human life and all other life forms.
The old toxic spewing power plants discharge over 500,000 pounds of heavy metals, petrochemicals, and other very dangerous pollutants. In addition most constituents do not know that over 900 million gallons of secondary effluents also known as wastewater is treated by chlorine shock, dechlorination before being discharged in the San Francisco Bay.
The two old power plants discharge over 150 tons of pollution per year into the air. Lead, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds, PM10 particles, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, pathogens all adversely affect the poor constituents who live in Public Housing and where Lennar BVHP LLC wants to build 1600 new housing on Parcel A at Hunters Point.
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard contributed to over 750,000 tons of toxic metal-laden Naval shipyard wastes. 95% of the Superfund site (aka CERCLIS) remains toxic.
Added to this there are 40 other polluters in the Bayview. The leading Federal, State, and local agencies are doing nothing much. Many so-called Environmental Justice Community Based Organization are contributing too more to injustice then justice. Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) and Bayview Hunters Point Advocates are the prime ones who fall into this category. These two have taken millions from the San Francisco Environment and used it for purposes other then mitigation. I challenge the SFE to give line item accountability linked to grants given by SFE to BVHP Advocates and LEJ. These grants are part of the $13.6 State energy mitigation fund.
There is much to be done and the CEC at least heard what I had to say. I know this because twice after I mentioned the key elements of pollution the Commissioners referenced them to those present.
The Bayview Hunters Point community is left in the dark. It is mostly because qualified information that is part of outreach and which takes sacrifice and love to impart is not discussed. I know a couple of Community Based Organizations who take the money but pocket the money and forget about the outreach.
It is wrong to place the proposed 3 Combustible Turbines Engines near the Mirant Plant. It is wrong to NOT consult the community at large. It is not right to take the people for granted. It is very right to close down the two old power plants - the Mirant and the old toxic spewing Hunters Point power plant.
It is time that Ann Kelly and Cal Broomhead work for the community and not PG&E. It is time we learn from CA ISO why there was blackout over such a wide area when the Mission sub-station went down two day before Christmas Day. Edward Smeloff from SF Public Utilities Commission we need answers not a long silence.
We all are waiting for a concerted effort to generate energy by using Solar Energy. San Francisco has a $100 million dollar bond but no precise action with local participation.
Once Bayview Hunters Point had many windmills - we have the wind in plenty that is free. Time the SF Planning permit windmills to save money and get rid of pollution in the Southeast Sector. The Naval Shipyard could erect a number of windmills and generate a lot of energy. Free energy could be given to the people in Public Housing.
There is a lot of pollution in the Bayview Hunters Point and we can get rid of a lot of that by generation of energy through Solar, Wind, and Tidal projects. There is money for that but Developers want quick money and that is what SF City Planning and the SF Redevelopment Agency wants - money from the Greedy Developers. Greedy developers want more housing with no plan for Clean Energy to fuel these homes.
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