READER'S EDITORIAL: PREMATURE OBITUARY ISSUED FOR FEDERAL CASE AGAINST SUNRISE POWERLINK THAT IS STILL GOING STRONG

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by Donna Tisdale

November 22, 2010 (San Diego's East County)--The headlines claiming that our lawsuit to stop SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink was dismissed were premature and misleading. Judge Anello did issue a tentative order granting SDG&E's Motion to Dismiss our case based on an alleged lack of standing, with leave to file an amended complaint.

 

In response, on November 5th, attorneys for our grassroots coalition filed our First Amended Complaint with more than enough information to address the judge's questions over standing. Our coalition includes Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD), The Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC), and the East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC). Our members, and many others, will be, and have already been, adversely effected in many ways.

SDG&E must not be too confident that our case will be dismissed because their attorneys at Latham & Watkins have issued subpoenas to depose five of us next month. They have scheduled me for a full day of deposition. Not a problem. We are all ready to answer their questions on how the Sunrise Powerlink and related projects will drastically change / harm our communities, our lives, and the places we love--forever.

Our legal challenges to Sunrise Powerlink and related project approvals are actually growing. Along with our first amended complaint and request for declaratory and injunctive relief, our attorneys filed a request for rehearing with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) based on their approval of the Project Modification Report, appeals to the US Forest Service approvals, and an appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals with a request for stay based on their Project Modification Report approval. These agencies did not comply with the law. They know it and SDG&E knows it.

Rejection was expected, but these filings are required in order to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit. We will now be filing suit against the Forest Service, and other agencies with a request for a stay, in the near future. There are also many unresolved side permits that are still going through the review process.

PUC Notices To Proceed are also needed for each segment of Sunrise construction. To date, only construction yards, substation upgrades, and communication facilities have been issued NTPs. To see SDG&E's NTP applications and approval dates go to the PUC project website at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/sunrise/sunrise.htm

We are also going after several of the so-called "green" industrial scale wind and solar projects, proposed for tens of thousands of acres in rural areas, that rely on Sunrise but were not properly analyzed. These intermittent energy producers will require gas-fired back up generation. The significant cumulative impacts from all these projects, including increased fire risk, utility and insurance rates, loss of property value, and impacts to recreation, endangered and sensitive species, and cultural and historic resources, have been unlawfully ignored, downplayed ,or dismissed. For updated information, including legal filings, go to www.protectourcommunities.org.

Wide spread community support has been key to our ongoing efforts and is very much appreciated. Your support is critical and is still urgently needed to continue this worthwhile battle.

Tax deductible donations can be made online at the POC website or mailed to PO Box 305, Santa Ysabel, 92070. Donations can be confidential and/or earmarked for specific issues upon request. If you have questions, please contact me at 619-766-4170 or donnatisdale@hughes.net.

 

The views expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.  If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.