December 9. 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is confirmed to appear with other dignitaries at a groundbreaking hosted by San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) for Sunrise Powerlink slated for 11 a.m. today (originally set for 9 a.m.)
In response, the Protect Our Communiities Foundation is organizing a protest, calling the groundbreaking “premature” since three active lawsuits against Sunrise Powerlink are currently in the courts—any one of which could potentially halt the project.
“We need a large crowd, with signs, to show the world that the Powerlink is old fossil-fuel infratstructure at its worst, that the project is not acceptable to the citizens of San Diegoi County, and most of all that the Powerlink is not a done deal,” Vanessa Ruscyzyk of the nonprofit Protect our Communities Foundation wrote in an e-mail forwarded widely through citizens’ and environmental groups county-wide.
Construction crews have already begun preparations starting in late November on Alpine Boulevard in Alpine, where SDG&E plans to underground 6.2 miles of Sunrise Powerlink, the 230kV high voltage power lines. Many backcountry residents have voiced concerns over disruption to local businesses, health risks from electromagnetic frequencies, destruction of scenic views, and fire risks posed by the lines.
The official groundbreaking ceremony will take place at Rough Acres Ranch near Boulevard in McCain Valley (about an hour and 15 minutes from downtown San Diego). The groundbreaking will feature a helicopter bought for the project, a section of tower, politicians and others making speeches, followed by a catered lunch. The Governor has been invited, but his office has not confirmed to media whether he will be attending.
Directions to Rough Acres Ranch: (approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from downtown San Diego)
1. Take I-8 East to the Boulevard exit (the next one after Crestwood and the Golden Acorn Casino - past the large wind turbines).
2. Turn right (south) onto Ribbonwood Road.
3. Go to the stop sign at Old Hwy 80 and make a left (east) towards Jacumba.
4. McCain Valley Road is several miles down on the left. You will reach a big brown McCain Valley Recreation Area sign.
5. Take McCain Valley north back under the freeway until the pavement ends.
6. Rough Acres driveway is on the left and the dirt road on the right is the entry to McCain Valley Recreation Area with another sign.
7. Park along the shoulder of McCain Valley Road, the access road to the recreation area