Donna Tisdale

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF FIRE IN BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2012 (Boulevard) – Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale has provided ECM with a dramatic eyewitness account of the Shockey Fire, which started on the Campo Reservation just west of her home in Boulevard.  Power and phone lines have burned down, she reports, adding that the area has no cell phone reception. 

“A Deputy showed up to warn us and recommended evacuation.We stayed and the fire raged through parts of our Morning Star Ranch and our son's property next door. Together we have over 300 acres--much now looks other worldly, stark and smoldering,” wrote Tisdale, who sent photos taken from her property.

TWO NEW LAWSUITS FILED OVER OCOTILLO WIND

By Miriam Raftery

September 13, 2012 (Ocotillo) – Two new lawsuits were filed September 11, 2012 against federal officials and the U.S. government seeking an injunction to halt construction at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express industrial wind project. 

One suit targets U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act and failing to protect endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep.  Active signs of bighorn activity on the site have been spotted as recently as this week and photos clearly document recent sitings in the heart of the project.

The second suit takes aim at Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Department of Interior officials for ignoring  California Desert Conservation Area protections passed by Congress to conserve fragile desert areas for future generations. This suit alleges that officials also ignored many other laws intended to protect natural and cultural resources, views, archaeological sites, and the health of local residents.

THIRD LAWSUIT FILED OVER OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND

May 27, 2012 (Ocotillo) –The Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps, and Donna Tisdale of Boulevard are suing the Imperial County Board of Supervisors and Pattern Energy.

RARE SPECIES DISCOVERIES MAY HALT WIND FARMS

Black wildcat sightings confirmed in East County

By Kit Kat

A pril 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – For months, residents in rural East County areas have been reporting sightings of a large wildcat described as a “black panther” by witnesses. So Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale resolved to prove the presence of this extremely rare species in our region. 

“If it’s the only one in California, surely that will be enough to convince U.S. Interior Department authorities to halt construction of the Tule Wind Farm,” Tisdale told East County Magazine.

UTILITY WATCHDOG GROUP UCAN TO SHUT DOWN AMID FEDERAL PROBE: EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS EXPRESS SHOCK, DISMAY

"As bad as SDG&E is with a watchdog, imagine it without a watchdog.” – Donna Tisdale

 

“…No evidence confirming such allegations was provided by those lodging allegations, nor discovered by any of the professionals retained by UCAN’s board.” – press release posted on UCAN website

"We're trying to save UCAN and they're dissolving it." -- Mike Aguirre, attorney

March 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – To many ratepayers in East County, the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN) has been a valued ally in their battles against San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). For example, UCAN filed a lawsuit that tried to halt Sunrise Powerlink and submitted a study that helped persuade the California Public Utilities Commission to reject a rate hike proposal.   

So UCAN’s announcement that it is dissolving amid an FBI investigation into its finances  and a Grand Jury summons has been met with shock, dismay and skepticism here in East County.

WATER RUSTLING RILES NEIGHBORS IN BOULEVARD AS GROUNDWATER PUMPING CONTINUES DESPITE COUNTY BAN

 

Neighbors in rural Boulevard fear dry wells, impacts on water quality and terrain

By Jeremy Los

 

Sept. 18, 2011- The Live Oak Holding Company is in hot water with the County of San Diego after it allegedly took part in unlawful groundwater sales for the construction of a new Border Patrol complex off of Ribbonwood road in Boulevard.

 

JUDGE RULES AGAINST POWERLINK OPPONENTS; PLAINTIFFS PLAN APPEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery
July 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez has denied a motion for summary judgment by three East County groups which sought to halt construction of Sunrise Powerlink transmission lines.  Plaintiffs had argued that environmental review by two federal agencies, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), was inadequate and violated federal law.

 

Among other things, the suit argued that the agencies violated federal law by approving the project before some surveys of endangered species were conducted and by failing to consider the scope of connected wind farm and other projects, opening tens of thousands of acres of public lands open to energy development projects without adequate review.

OOPS! THEY DID IT AGAIN: SDG&E CHOPPER DROPS A SECOND TOWER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Dennis Richardson
June 10, 2011 (San Diego)—Just four days after its sky crane dropped a Sunrise Powerlink tower 200 feet, a second transmission line tower has toppled in the Imperial Valley.
 

Following last Monday’s accident, SDG&E promised in a press release that the company was “taking immediate steps…to investigate what occurred today in order to ensure that this does not happen again.”

 

But it did happen again. Today at 8 a.m.,  the Sun Bird Erickson Air Crane helicopter was placing the fifth of five towers near Plaster City when three of the helicopter’s four hooks released.  Dangling by just one hook, the 15,000 pound tower was lowered to the ground and released, where it tipped over.  Fourtunately, no one was injured in either incident.  But residents of East County, where construction of Powerlink is also underway, are voicing concerns over safety of workers and the public.

CA SUPREME COURT REJECTS UCAN APPEAL, SIDES WITH SDG&E ON POWERLINK

 

 

February 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Supreme Court has denied without comment an appeal filed by Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), which sought to stop the Sunrise Powerlink project on the basis that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

3 LOCAL GROUPS FILE SUIT TO BLOCK SUNRISE POWERLINK ON FEDERAL LANDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Three local organizations and an East County land use issues expert have filed a lawsuit against five federal agencies. The suit alleges that the agencies approved SDG&E’s planned Sunrise Powerlink transition line in violation of environmental regulations—in some cases, making decisions based on the original route through the Anza Borrego Desert, instead of the revised southern route through numerous East County communities.

 

The suit makes other contentions, notably that key decision makers ignored fire danger and failed to consider the collective impact on public lands in East County, where several wind farms are planned as well as Powerlink in some wilderness areas.  In addition, plaintiffs claim that some decisions were made before completion of studies on endangered species and that once completed, those studies found the project could threaten endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and other species.

FOREST SERVICE DENIES APPEAL OVER POWERLINK, CLEARS WAY FOR LITIGATION

 

By Miriam Raftery
 

October 24, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Forest Service’s Regional Forester Randy Moore has upheld the Record of Decision (ROD) approving construction of Sunrise Powerlink, SDG&E's high-voltage transmission line slated to cross 19 miles of National Forest land in Cleveland National Forest as well as 49 miles of Bureau of Land Management land.

POWERLINK CLEARS HURDLES AT STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS

 

Supervisor Jacob accuses "so-called regulators" of "deliberately covering up the monumental fire danger posed by this line"

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 24, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) –The California Public Utilities Commission and the federal Bureau of Land Management have refused requests for additional environmental review from opponents of the controversial Sunrise Powerlink high-voltage transmission line.

CAMPO TRIBAL COUNCIL VOTES TO CANCEL CAMPO LANDFILL PROJECT

 

June 10, 2010 (Campo) – The Campo Band of the Kumeyaay Nation’s general council has voted to rescind lease agreements and terminate the Campo Sanitary Landfill Project, ending a decade-long battle by neighboring community members seeking to halt the project.

UTILITY-BACKED BALLOT INITIATIVE DRAWS CRITICISM FROM LOCAL LEADERS

 

Should cities and counties be barred from starting up public power entitities to compete against utility giants such as SDG&E--and offer clean energy options to residents?  Voters to decide.
 

February 17, 2010 (San Diego) – A June ballot initiative seeks to change California’s constitution to make it harder for cities and counties to give residents alternatives to buying power from utility companies. The measure is funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). It would require a super-majority (two-thirds) vote for local governments to create new forms of public power entities through Community Choice Aggregation (CCA).

POWERLINK OPPONENTS ACCUSE SDG&E OF EXCLUDING OPPONENTS FROM POWERLINK COUNCILS

December 30, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has named 110 people to serve on community councils to make recommendations on how areas should deal with disruptions caused by Sunrise Powerlink, the $1.88 billion high voltage power line project that the utility company wants to build. But many of the project’s most vocal opponents were not invited to participate—and are accusing SDG&E of stacking the deck in its favor.

EAST COUNTY ACTIVIST FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST SEMPRA/SDG&E LOBBYIST; ATTORNEY COULD FACE DISBARMENT

September 11, 2009 (Boulevard) – Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group (photo), has filed a formal ethics complaint with the California Bar Association against Sempra/SDG&E lobbyist Heidi DeJong Barsuglia. Barsuglia has been implicated in a sex scandal involving Assemblyman Mike Duvall, as we have previously reported

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