Amazon Watch, Border Power Plant Working Group, Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Greenpeace, Local Power, Long Beach Citizens for Utility Reform, Marin Clean Alternative Energy Now, Northcoast Environmental Center, Pacific Environment, Public Citizen, Synapse Energy Economics Vallejo Community Planned Renewal (CPR)
California Public Utilities Commission Electric Procurement Proceeding R.01-10-024 Document Post
April 15, 2004 Comments on Electric Utility Procurement Plan Outlines and the Imposition of Customer Responsibility Surcharges on Customers Participating in Community Choice Aggregation
LOCAL POWER, COALITION WARNS REGULATORS TO BE READY FOR 10% OF UTILITY CUSTOMER LOAD TO DEPART ELECTRIC PROCUREMENT, PROPOSES GATEKEEPING SYSTEM FOR CPUC (April 15, 2004)
IDENTICAL DOCUMENT SUBMITTED TO COMMUNTIY CHOICE PROCEEDING
Attachment 1: Widespread Adoption Utility Forecasting Community Choice Scenario (PDF)
IDENTICAL DOCUMENT SUBMITTED TO COMMUNTIY CHOICE PROCEEDING
Attachment 1: Widespread Adoption Utility Forecasting Community Choice Scenario (PDF)Summary: Green Power is in a RACE Against Gas in California
Ratepayers for Affordable Clean Energy
Media Update: RACE Coalition Calls for CPUC to Hold Evidentiary Hearings As FERC Moves to Force LNG Terminal on California For more information,
Rory Cox, Pacific Environment: 510/399-8850 x302
Kristin Casper, Greenpeace: 415 255 9221 x 321
Bill Powers, Border Power Plant Working Group: 619 295 2072
Paul Fenn, Local Power 510 451 1727
25 March 2004
San Francisco - A coalition of environmentalists, community safety activists, renewable energy and consumer advocates called for the California Public Utilities Commission to hold evidentiary hearings this week as the Bush Administration indicated it will preempt the CPUC and may force a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on Long Beach.
In a 100 page filing submitted to the CPUC on March 23, RACE detailed the lack of need for, environmental dangers and threats to public safety associated with, the import of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) into the state. The coalition, "Ratepayers for Affordable, Clean Energy," or RACE, filed a motion to the CPUC on March 9 calling on the agency to hold evidentiary hearings and to consider a multitude of impacts which they say LNG imports cause. The motion is in response to decisions the CPUC will make this year regarding natural gas procurement for households and small businesses in California for the next 10 years.
For the first time, California is considering importing LNG to meet what the energy industry is claiming to be a looming energy shortfall. LNG is natural gas that is extracted abroad in Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and brought to a temperature of -260 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify. It is loaded onto huge tankers, and brought overseas to the kinds of import terminals now being proposed along the California and Baja, Mexico coast. Under the proposed plans, the gas would then be "re-gassified," and would be used to generate electricity for the California grid.
Thus far, the energy industry has had difficulty finding a community that will accept the import terminals - a process requiring a permit from the CPUC or State Lands Commission. In the last 14 months, citizen activists in Vallejo, Tijuana, and Eureka have resoundingly rejected the import terminals. The RACE coalition includes these community activists, as well as others.
The addition of the foreign natural gas into the California energy grid will glut the market with gas, increasing California's over-dependence on gas, making California's electricity rely on gas from geopolitically volatile regions, locking ratepayers into long-term contracts with these uncertain supplies and blocking statewide "energy independence" efforts to aggressively develop clean, renewable energy & conservation technologies. Activists point out that, according to the California Energy Commission, California is on-track to have a 20% mix of renewable energy by the year 2010, beating the original target by seven years and obviating the need for imported gas. Many California cities are seeking to break away from gas-based electric utility procurement to achieve a 40% mix of green power, with San Francisco in the lead.
RACE's March 23 CPUC filing shows that LNG tankers, terminals and adjacent power plants are highly combustible and dangerous to neighboring communities. In January, an LNG facility in Algeria caught fire, and a fast-moving blaze killed over 276 workers and shattered windows up to seven miles away. A proposed import site in Long Beach harbor would be built on unstable landfill, and near an active earthquake fault. LNG terminals are known to be terrorist targets. According to the new book by U.S. antiterrorist czar Richard Clarke, members of Al Qaeda have stowed away on LNG tankers destined for Boston Harbor. Recent Congressional studies have identified LNG terminals as "serious" terrorist targets.
The drilling of gas also has severe global environmental consequences. According to the California Energy Commission, methane leaks from gas pipeline make gas no better than oil in terms of its impact on climate change. Moreover, new gas drilling to serve western countries threatens pristine environments around the world. One of the sources of the newly imported gas is Sakhalin Island, in Russia, where energy companies such as Shell and Mitsubishi are drilling in the habitat of the critically endangered Western Pacific Gray Whale, of which there are less than 100 left remaining. Another source of gas would be the Peruvian Amazon, where Halliburton and Hunt Oil are bulldozing a pipeline highway across pristine rainforest, causing severe damage to one of the earth's most diverse ecosystems, and disrupting indigenous peoples in the process.
RACE is calling upon the CPUC to hold evidentiary hearings to determine whether there is a need for this additional new source of natural gas. Documents filed by the energy industry demonstrate wildly inconsistent data in regard to projected natural gas needs over the next ten years.
Sempra/Shell and Chevron plan to site two import terminals in Baja California, Mexico, that will directly serve the California energy market. This, the activists say, is just pushing the unpopular plants on to an impoverished region, and creating an "energy maquiladora."
"The industry is exploiting fears of rolling blackouts to make California dependent on imported foreign gas," said Paul Fenn, an energy analyst with Oakland-based Local Power, "but the CPUC has to remember that gas shortages didn't create the blackouts of 2001; energy supply manipulation by the gas suppliers did. Some of these same companies stand to benefit from this import scheme, and will have even more market power to manipulate gas and electricity prices."
According to Rory Cox, from San Francisco-based Pacific Environment, "California is proud of being along the migration route of the Gray Whale. But I don't think many in California want their energy supply endangering these whales' close Russian cousins that are on the verge of extinction."
According to Kristin Casper, energy advocate at Greenpeace USA, "Renewable energy is a power source that is local, secure and price-competitive, right here in California. It's clean, and it creates jobs for Californians. Why ship this dirty fuel halfway around the world, when the alternative is all around us?"
The RACE coalition includes: Amazon Watch, Border Power Plant Working Group Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Greenpeace, Local Power, Long Beach Citizens for Utility Reform, Marin Clean Alternative Energy Now, Northcoast Environmental Center, Pacific Environment, Public Citizen, Vallejo Community Planned Renewal (VCPR).
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