SAN FRANCISCO — On March 13, the California Environmental Justice Alliance expressed outrage at the California Public Utilities Commission approval of a flawed plan to replace the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating System.
The approved decision passed unanimously giving utility companies such as the San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison the option to build more dirty natural gas power plants. The commission released changes last minute with no time for public input.
The commission’s final plan allows utilities to choose where the bulk of the energy need comes from, which includes natural gas. In addition, the final plan increases the total projected energy need. Though it does require some clean energy development, it backs away from the commitment to “preferred resources,” clean energy, energy efficiency and other programs that promote conservation and renewable energy.
Less than a month ago, over the alliance’s strenuous objection, the commission approved a proposal to build the Pio Pico power plant in the Latino, low-income area near San Diego. Pio Pico is projected to emit 685,000 tons of greenhouse gas pollutants per year from burning natural gas. According to the California Air Resources Board, greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012 for the first time since 2008 because of increased reliance on gas plants after San Onofre closed.