Backcountry Against Dumps

TISDALE FIRES BACK, DEFENDS NONPROFIT B.A.D.’S EFFORTS TO BATTLE BIG ENERGY PROJECTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – East County Magazine has twice named Donna Tisdale our “Newsmaker of the Year” for her tireless efforts to battle massive energy projects and stand up for rural residents.  She also received the People’s Mic Award from KNSJ  Radio for her advocacy as a backcountry warrior.

But now the warrior is under attack by a series of articles (1) (2) (3) published by Voice of San Diego.  The articles criticize Tisdale and her nonprofit, Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD) for suits filed in Imperial County over desert solar projects. In essence, the series faults cash settlements paid to farmers and claims eight suits yielded no environmental benefits.

But now Tisdale is firing back in a detailed response that contends VOSD’s stories contain false statements  in a “misinformation campaign” she likens to Big Tobacco and Big Oil’s efforts to mislead the public.  “It is no coincidence that San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E’s) Mitch Mitchell is on the VOSD Board of Directors,” she observes, noting that BAD has challenged numerous SDG&E projects.  She denies personal financial gain alleged by VOSD (which presented zero evidence of such).  While the VOSD article addresses issues in 8 lawsuits not in San Diego County, BAD has filed three times that many (24), many of which did result in big wins for the environment in our region-- or developers backing off projects completely, facts that VOSD failed to report. 

Below is Tisdale’s rebuttal in full:

WIND ENERGY COMPANY SUES TO BLOCK RELEASE OF BIRD DEATH DATA TO MEDIA

 

Photo: Hawk at Ocotillo wind farm; photo by Jim Pelley

By Miriam Raftery

December 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A lawsuit filed by Pacificorp, a wind energy corporation, seeks an injunction to halt the Associated Press from obtaining reports filed by the company with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service documenting deaths of eagles and other protected bird species at its wind energy facilities. Pacificorp, which is owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, claims disclosure would cause “irreparable harm” to the company.

BACKCOUNTRY GROUP FILES COMPLAINT WITH CPUC AGAINST SDG&E OVER WATER CONCERNS

 

 

Flawed Water Supply Plan for Electric Substations Results in Request to Revoke Planned Projects

By Sharon Penny; photo by Wayne Brammer

March 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--During one of the worst droughts in San Diego County history, a backcountry group has filed a complaint against San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) regarding its flawed water supply plan for construction of its ECO Substation (photo, left), Boulevard Substation, and 14 miles of new 138KV line.

Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD), a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending groundwater-dependent communities from environmentally unsafe facilities and projects, is seeking an order against SDG&E, contending that the company violated a mitigation measure (MM HYD-3) that would directly impact eastern San Diego’s already strained water supplies.  The complaint was filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CUPC) and asks the CPUC to rescind SDG&E’s water supply plan and permit to construction the ECO substation project, among other actions.

LAWSUIT SEEKS INJUNCTION TO HALT TULE WIND PROJECT IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2013 (Boulevard) – Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project has been slapped with a federal complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The lawsuit was filed by two nonprofits in San Diego’s Rural East County, the Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps.

If built, Tule Wind’s phase I would include 67 turbines on federal land, each nearly 500 feet tall in rugged McCain Valley, a federal wildlife management and popular  recreation area. Additional turbines are planned on adjoining state, tribal and private property. Turbines would be close to campgrounds and homes in rural Boulevard, a predominantly low income community in East County where numerous other massive-scale energy projects have already been proposed. (See map showing cumulative impacts.)

 “Eastern San Diego County is targeted as a rural sacrifice industrial energy and transmission zone without benefit of equal protection under the law,” said Donna Tisdale, also a plaintiff in the suit.

COMMUNITY MEETING JAN. 24 ON INDUSTRIAL ENERGY PROJECTS PROPOSED IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2013 (Boulevard) – Two nonprofit groups, Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps, will convene a community meeting Thursday, January 24, 2013 to inform residents about planned industrial conversation of Boulevard and surrounding areas.  A dozen or so big energy corporations—most from outside the region--seek to push through zoning changes to allow massive projects that would forever transform this now-rural area. 

“Learn about the many industrial scale wind, solar, and related transmission line projects planned in and around our residential neighborhoods (on public, private, and tribal lands), adversely impacting many homes,” a flyer for the event states, “and what you can do to help protect and defend your family, your property, your future.”

The meeting will be held at the Boulevard Fire Station Equipment Bay, 39923 Ribbonwood Road, Boulevard 91905 (northeast corner of Old Highway 80 and Ribbonwood Road) from 7 to 9 p.m. on January 24.

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.

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.

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.

FOREST SERVICE DELAYS POWERLINK DECISION; SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT

Opponents call move a “golden opportunity” for public to weigh in and potentially halt project

 


May 16, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Yesterday, Cleveland National Forest issued a request for public comments on SDG&’E’s proposed Sunrise Powerlink project.

The public has 45 days to submit comments on the planned high-voltage line. As part of a national energy corridor, the line could ultimately a 1,000 foot-wide swatch of clearance through Cleveland National Forest in East County. Forest Services officials are preparing a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) to include new information received. The Union-Tribune reports that the Forest Service said Saturday that the massive power line “threatens views, creeks and roadless areas in the forest.”

POWERLINK MAY HINGE ON CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST SUPERVISOR: Attorney for 3 Community and Environmental Groups Sends Legal Notice to Metz; Metz Speaks With East County Magazine