Judge Asked to Halt Electricity Imports to California from Two Mexican Plants
By Diane Lindquist, The San Diego Union-Tribune -- June 4
A group of cross-border residents, health organizations and environmentalists yesterday asked a San Diego federal judge to halt electricity imports to California from two new power plants in Mexico.
ENERGY CENTRAL PROFESSIONAL
The request for a temporary restraining order follows Judge Irma E. Gonzalez' ruling in early May that the U.S. Department of Energy, in granting presidential permits to build the cross-border transmission lines, acted illegally in determining that the plants would not significantly affect the region's air and water quality.
Gonzalez said she will issue her ruling today or Thursday.
Attorneys for the Energy Department and the plant developers Sempra Energy International and InterGen argued that the decision on whether to stop the transmission of electricity to California should be delayed until June 16, when the remedy phase of that case is scheduled to be heard.
In legal terms, a temporary restraining order maintains the status quo. Much of yesterday's debate focused on what the status quo in this case is, now that the companies have begun using the new transmission lines to send electricity from the Mexicali plants to California.
"The status quo is that this is a built project," said David L. Mulliken, an attorney for companies. "We are sending power across the grid. We are selling power. If you shut the plant down, there's all kinds of harm."
Employees at the Mexicali plants would be put out of work, he said. And he argued that California needs the electricity, given that a Stage 1 Alert was issued last week.
Earthjustice attorney Marcello Mollo said power plant representatives want the public to think that the plaintiffs are trying to keep needed electricity supplies from California.
His understanding, he said, is that the lines are transmitting power only for testing, not for full commercial operation.
The shipments should be stopped, Mollo said, until there is a proper assessment of the plants' full impact on Imperial County's air quality and on the Salton Sea.
"The public has a right to expect the process to be done correctly," he said.
After the hearing, Sempra Energy Resources president Michael Niggli said the electricity the company has sent through the lines is for testing purposes.
Since February, it has sent loads ranging from 0 to 600 megawatts, the plant's full capacity. He said shipments now average 450 megawatts.
The power has been sent into the U.S. grid and "consumed in the Pacific Southwest," Niggli said. "We sell it to anybody we can sell it to."
Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California ISO, which operates the state's electric system, said the agency's projections indicate that electricity supplies for the summer are adequate without the imports from Mexicali.
She said inaccurate weather assessments led to last week's Stage 1 Alert.
One concern about the Mexicali plants is that they might overload California's transmission grid, McCorkle said, causing "electron traffic jams."
"We have flagged potential bottlenecks," she said, "not just from those two plants but also elsewhere in the Southwest
what you say is 100% correct and nobody wants pollution.... but it is not America and its up to the Mexicans to kill the pollution ...does it float to your side...yes I know it does.
So put a huge tax or something on their veggies coming north and they will notice fast ...it always comes down to money .
This will cripple them up and something will be done and fast and the plants wiil be closed.
Forget the yelling about pollution ,,,until it costs the other guy more money than he is making its a waste of time.
I have to admit that the negatives on this board shook me out of my 25,000 shares and I am really feeling stupid. I feel a big move is coming and I hate to pay higher when I was in at the low 3,s.
Where do you live man, do you not see we have a border with Mexico? If they kept the pollution in Mexico, I could care less, but a lot of it ends up here. We get a lot of serious emissions here in Texas brown coal smokers in Mexico, and we get a lot of untereated wastewater and toxic pollutants for the maquiladoras along the border into the Rio Grande, which we use water out of, because of those "it's not in our country" looser enviro regs. Mexico poisons a lot of US citizens with their lax laws.
And the Mexicans would probably be more grateful than the Iraqis if we overthrew their government, it's only slightly better than SH's. Their record of abuse down along their southern border in the Chiapas area was not far from Saddams treatment of the Kurds, just without the mass casualties of using gas.
Oh, and on the Souther border, Mexico immediately deports ANY illegal aliens no matter what, but they are hypocrites about their own illegals. Invading MExico and destroying the governmetn structure there isn't really a bad idea.
Pete is awesome. He gives us messages about once a month on the status of the company. He paid us bonuses this year when the board of directors didn't want to (rumor). He is extremely honest, sincere, and appreciative.We call him Uncle Pete when we refer too him here.
>>Not too many people realize that we are net exporters of NG to Mexico.<<
You said a mouthful, Chancels. U.S. gas exports to Mexico have increased almost sevenfold in the past five years and volumes for 2002 were up 87% over 2001:
It's still a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but it is growing fast. Most of that is to generate electricity that comes straight back across the border. And, if the truth be told, most of them are located down there to dodge U.S. environmental regs.
Once again, this country needs to get is energy policy in sync with its environmental policies and vice versa.
Calpine has been GREAT to us. The only concern we've had is that there is always rumors that they are going to sell us. We have appreciated greatly in value since they bought us (I would estimate 500%) and so I'm sure there is the temptation to sell us off to free up cash.