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Critics Explode Against Proposed Carlsbad Energy Center at Panel Meeting

The natural gas-fired power plant would be built on coastal site of existing Encina Power Station.

Julian Niguard asked: “How could you put a potentially explosive power plant by a freeway and a railway?”

Debra Clostier was in “extreme disbelief” that another power plant could be built where one already sits.

And Jeff LaGondra echoed Clostier: “One is more than enough on the coastline.”

They and other Carlsbad residents appeared Thursday afternoon before the California Energy Commission reviewing the proposed Carlsbad Energy Center project. The meeting was in a ballroom of the Hilton Garden Inn.

The 558-megawatt natural gas-fired facility would be built on the site of the existing Encina Power Station on the Carlsbad coast.

For a second time, the commission has already approved the project, saying there are no significant environmental impacts and that it complies with all laws, regulations and ordinances.

One resident passed around three aerial photographs of the site of the Encina Power Station, and a handout showing the potential earthquake dangers to the area.

One of the photos showed the site in 1947, another in 1953, and a third as it stands today. As John Barber was describing the photos, a committee member cut him off, saying he had run out of speaking time.

Several members of the audience volunteered to give their speaking time to Barber so he could continue. Barber claims the photos show that the power plant is on an active fault line, and an offshore earthquake would cause a disaster similar to the power plant meltdown during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami on the coast of Tohoku, Japan.

“There are other sources and places” to put a power plant, Barber said.

Speaking on behalf of the City Council, Keith Blackburn said it opposes the project. He said the council believes the project is not safe for reasons including roads being too narrow for emergency vehicles.

It would, “subject our coastlines to more smokestacks and heavy industry,” Blackburn said, and “affect the economy and lifestyle of the community for generations to come.”

Residents still interested in making comments can do so until April 27, via e-mail to docket@energy.state.ca.us. Include your name, organization (if applicable) and Carlsbad Docket No. 07-ACF-06 in the subject line.

Gordon April 20, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Personally I think this is a tempest in teapot! The land belongs to NRG and they can do what they want with it as long as it complies with zoning regulations, etc. If the city was so concerned about it, they should have taken action years ago to either procure it from NRG or rezone it from industrial to commercial or residential. And this is not a nuclear facility! Those arguments regarding the fault line and the potential results from an earthquake are ridiculous. No other options or alternate sites would be acceptable to the NIMBY crowd and the costs to relocate transmission lines, etc. would most likely be prohibitive. And where or to who NRG sells the power generated is none of anyone's business as long as there is adequate power for Carlsbad. Just my opinion.
Erin Thomas April 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
How many people attended the hearing?
Shannon Pearson April 21, 2012 at 02:08 AM
What about the fact that San Diego County makes a lot of their money off of tourism? This power plant (along with the old one) is an eyesore to our coastline and beaches. Not to mention it can't be good to have any more industry that close to fragile ecosystems. Gordon you are right the city should have procured the land or they should rezone it ASAP!
Eric Goodman April 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Rezone. We already have regulations keeping Wal-Marts away from the shoreline. Why is it OK to add heavy industry? It's ridiculous, as if California was running so low on real estate even factories are pushed out to the edge of the sea.

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