By Miriam Raftery
August 19, 2012 – Yesterday the Federal Register included notice that the U.S. Department of Energy has announced it will issue a Presidential permit to Energia Sierra Juarez U.S. Transmission, LLC (ESJ) to construct, operate, maintain and connect a 230 kV electric transmission line across the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego’s East County. Read the notice: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-17/html/2012-20234.htm
The Environmental Impact Statement for the project warned that “Potential impacts to habitat and vegetation in the U.S. could result from a wildfire originating in Mexico and spreading across the U.S.-Mexico border…. Wind turbines planned for construction in Mexico as part of the ESJ Wind Project, including associated safety lighting, would be visible from several viewing points in the U.S., resulting in a potential long-term impact to individuals in the U.S.”
San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County, opposed the project and was the only Supervisor to vote against its approval. She denounced it as a fire hazard and further has said that reliance on power from a foreign country with an unstable government is not sound energy policy.
The transmission line would originate at San Diego Gas and Electric's planned East County Substation (ECO Substation), and extend southward approximately 0.65 miles to the U.S. border with Mexico, near Jacumba, California, where it would cross the border and connect with a transmission line to be built in Mexico."
The ESJ transmission line project would connect to the planned 1,250 Megawatt (MW) ESJ Wind Project to be located in the general vicinity of La Rumorosa, Northern Baja California, Mexico. Delivery within California of the output of ESJ wind turbines in Mexico would be scheduled by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).
Bonnie Price, past president of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, called the Department of Energy’s action “outrageous” and urged party members to “intervene with the President” by informing him of the dangers posed by the lines and asking him to revoke the approval. (The president may be contacted via the White House website at www.whitehouse.gov. )