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January 19, 2012 (Jacumba) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and assigned Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin will hold a hearing in Jacumba on January 24. The public may testify with comments on SDG&E's proposed $285 million 60-85 acre ECO Substation and 13 miles of new 138kV transmission lines planned for Boulevard.

The hearing will be at Jacumba Highland Center, 44681 Old Highway 80 in Jacumba on Tuesday, January 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. View hearing notice.

The notice recommends showing up at least 15 minutes before the 6 p.m. start time to sign up to speak. You may bring signs but they must be limited to 8 1/2 by 11 inches with no wood or metal support.

Both the proposed ECO Substation and the Sunrise Powerlink are planned for major expansions upgrades, including:

•Construction of a 500/230/138 kV substation in Eastern San Diego

•Construction of the Southwest Powerlink (SWPL) loop-in, a tie-in of
the existing SWPL transmission line to the proposed ECO Substation
•Construction of a 138kV transmission line, approximately 13.3 miles,
running between the proposed ECO Substation and the rebuilt Boulevard
•Construction of a new larger 3 acre substation to replace the existing
1/4 acre Boulevard Substation

The ECO Substation is part of a joint PUC/BLM EIR/EIS that also includes the connected action projects: 200MW Tule Wind in McCain Valley and 230/500kV cross-border transmission line to the Energia Sierra Juarez wind project south of the US/Mexico border.

People wishing to speak should arrive early to fill out a speaker's card.

If you can't make the hearing, comments can be submitted to the PUC staff and Commissioners via the PUC's Public Advisor's Office. Include the ECO Substation Application 09-08-003 and send to:

email: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov
Postal Service: CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Ave, Room 2103, San
Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: 866-849-8390 or 415-703-2074

Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group, noted that the ECO substation would support several large proposed solar projects and the new power lines to and from each project. 

"If you care about the backcountry, and the people and wildlife that live here, or visit here, please try to reschedule the Sponsor Group meeting and come to speak at the PUC's ECO Substation hearing," she wrote in an e-mail to ECM."You know that SDG&E and their supporters, including local misquided cheerleaders, will show up to speak in support of the project. With all their transformers inverters, and new substations, the noise and electromagnetic / radio frequency emissions are untested and unknown for these concentrating Solar projects with new brand new tracking test modules of this bulk and scale. And there are many solar projects planned locally."

A cumulative projects map shows the ECO Substation location and the proposed wind projects in Boulevard and Ocotillo--it does not show all the local solar projects that are in the works.  According to Tisdale, this linked map shows that the location of the proposed Amonix project is in Critical Habitat for the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly and right next to land already purchased for inclusion into the Anza Borrego State Park. 

"There are some who inexplicably seem to support the unnecessary industrialization of the backcountry in the name of climate change. However, there are much better alternatives to what is planned," she concluded.  "Jacumba could seek to have its own micro grid like SDG&E is doing (with grants) for Borrego: http://events.energetics.com/SmartGridPeerReview2010/pdfs/summaries/12_SDG-E_Borrego_Springs_Microgrid.pdf


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