Did you know the Port of San Diego oversees 5,333 acres of public land? Of that 5,333 acres, 3,520 are water and 1,813 are land along the shore. Yet only eight percent of the 5,333 acres is parks, while 70 percent is currently "leasable land," also known as available space for big, industrial manufacturers or hotels and commercial operations.

Can you imagine how different San Diego would be if more than eight percent of the Port's 5,333 acres included parks, paths, benches, viewpoints and more for community members? 

Port of San Diego tenantsWe have a chance to tell the Port that is what we want. Now, the Port of San Diego is asking for our feedback as it drafts a new plan for land and water use for the next 50 years. Eight environmental organizations came together to recommend guiding principles to include in the Port's vision for the San Diego Bay, and now we must join them and make the community voice heard even louder. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey (also available in Spanish) and let the Port know you want:

• Clean air
• Clean water
• Safe, reliable and accessible public transit
• Protection of natural resources in and along the Bay
• Increased recreational opportunities along the Bay, including access to the waterfront, parks and more

With your help, we can request the Port of San Diego lead the way in environmental justice. The Port has an opportunity to set an excellent example for the city by prioritizing nearby residential communities and pollution reduction, just as they did with the recent start-up of Shorepower on the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. 

EHC has already prepared its recommendations, now it's your turn to recommend the Port take action by:

• Pursuing immediate action to improve public health by reducing air and environmental pollution
• Ensuring that Port and tenant operations don't continue to negatively effect the health and safety of adjacent residential communities
• Commiting to taking all available action to reduce the cumulative health burdens on Barrio Logan and National City
• Proactively ensuring that ecology of San Diego Bay is enhanced, not degraded, over the next 50 years
• Adopting clean air and clean freight policies that are aggressive and effective
• Implementing the Climate Action Plan and meet local pollution reduction goals and develop a plan to protect areas from sea level rise and other effects of climate change

Join us in specifically asking the Port to make San Diego's next 50 years clean, safe and healthy – a future we all deserve.

 

sunset at Mission BeachTired of seeing your energy bills go up while your air keeps getting polluted from dirty power plants? Brace yourself; we might be in for more of both. On top of the rate hikes proposed for low-energy users to help out the energy hogs, we're likely to see rake hikes from new gas plants too.

Here's the scoop:

A few weeks ago, the California Public Utilities Commission— the state agency that regulates large energy providers like San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)— voted in San Francisco to approve SDG&E's application for Pio Pico— an unnecessary gas power plant in Otay Mesa. This will cost SDG&E's customers (that's you) $1.6 Billion in rate increases, plus the rising cost of the gas itself, plus the 685,626 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, or about 130,000 cars-worth of climate change causing pollutants.

Less than a week later, the California Public Utilities Commission announced a draft plan to let SDG&E replace the now-closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with 1.6 times more power than we got from the generating station in the first place. What's worse is that they're proposing to allow SDG&E to produce that power with polluting gas. The Commission may vote on this proposal in just a few weeks, again in San Francisco.

So what's the problem?

We shouldn't pay to build more power than we need.
Pio Pico isn't necessary to keep the lights on, neither is the state's proposal to replace the generating station with way more energy than we need. Building more energy than we need—dirty or clean—comes at a cost because we'll be paying for all that infrastructure whether we use the power or not.

We shouldn't approve new gas plants during a gas shortage.
Somewhere in between the state's approval of gas-fired Pio Pico and the unveiling of the plan to let gas plants replace the generating station, SDG&E had to ask customers to reduce their energy use due to a shortage of gas reserves. Seriously.

San Diegans deserve to be heard by our public decision-makers. 
San Diegans and southern Californian's have made clear in polls and local rallies they want to see more clean energy in their neighborhoods, not fossil fuels. But our voices are not making it up to San Francisco, where the California Public Utilities Commission is deciding our energy future. Travelling to San Francisco to influence Commission decisions is business-as-usual for SDG&E and parent company Sempra, as is made clear by their lobbying report; but for the average resident the cost and time of the trek is prohibitive. We asked the Commission for a local hearing on Pio Pico and on the replacement plan for the generating station, but our requests have been denied. Is it fair that the utility and its gas-peddling parent company are the only "locals" who can afford to have their voices heard?
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What's the solution? 

We should replace the generating station with clean, renewable energy, when needed.
At a time when Californians— especially low-income communities of color— are increasingly feeling climate change impacts, we can't afford to allow more polluting and expensive gas plants that harm our climate, our health, and our wallets. Gas plant prices are on the rise and they pollute; clean energy costs keep dropping and it doesn't pollute our air. Shouldn't this be an easy choice? Let's make a firm commitment.

We deserve better.
For the sake of our health, our future, our wallets San Diegans deserve for our decision makers to make a firm commitment to clean energy, not leave the door wide open for the utilities to build more gas plants and hike our rates at their discretion.

And for the sake of democracy, local residents deserve to have a say in what kind of energy produced their region and powers their homes and businesses.

We demand better!
Join EHC, the California Environmental Justice Alliance, and communities around the state in demanding a clean energy future! Sign the petition today!

 


Port_of_San_Diego_Workshop_PlanningThe Port of San Diego is drafting its plan to guide land and water use for the next 50 years, and we must make our voices heard. On Tuesday, February 18 and Wednesday, February 19, community members have the opportunity to provide feedback at the two-night Integrated Planning Workshop.

We need your help to make sure the Port's 50-year plan steers San Diego towards a clean, safe and healthy future.

Join us to request the Port of San Diego lead the way in environmental justice and set an example by prioritizing nearby residential communities and pollution reduction. Together, let's ask the Port of San Diego to:

  • Pursue immediate action to address climate change by reducing air and environmental pollution.
  • Ensure that its operations don't continue to negatively effect the health and safety of adjacent residential communities.
  • Commit to taking all available action to reduce the cumulative health burdens on Barrio Logan and National City.
  • Proactively ensure that San Diego Bay is enhanced, not degraded, over the next 50 years.
  • Adopt clean air and clean frieght policies that are aggresive and effective.
  • Implement the Climate Action Plan and meet local pollution reduction goals.

Please join us!

Tuesday, February 18, 6-8 p.m.
B Street Cruise Ship Terminal
1140 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego 
(Parking is available on the Pier)

Wednesday, February 19, 6-8 p.m.
Norman Park Senior Center
270 F St, Chula Vista 

If you can't make the meeting but would still like to give input for the planning process, submit your comments here

Last week, I received an email alert from SDG&E announcing the Reduce Your Use Day and customers were asked to conserve energy. I was surprised  because these days typically occur on San Diego's hottest summer days, when energy-hogging air conditioners are running to maximum capacity. Reducing our energy consumption at those times helps SDG&E avoid the need to turn on additional polluting "peaker" power plants to meet demand and also avoid blackouts.

But it's "winter" now in San Diego and that means we have comparatively low energy consumption; so why did SDG&E call a Reduce Your Use Day?

SBPowerPlant.11 10 09 003

Because there's a nationwide shortage of natural gas—the fuel that powers most of San Diego's electricity— due to cold weather in other parts of the U.S., leaving SDG&E and other Southern California utilities scrambling for gas reserves.

The particular irony of this gas shortage is that it comes just several days after the California Public Utilities Commission approved SDG&E's 25-year contract for a new gas plant, "Pio Pico", in Otay Mesa. To make matters worse, when they applied for Pio Pico's approval, SDG&E told customers that gas-burning Pio Pico would make our electricity system more reliable, but now they're telling us they don't have a reliable supply of gas.

Which is it?

Last week's gas shortage should make the California Public Utilities Commission and our elected officials give serious consideration as to whether expanding our reliance on gas-fired power plants makes our electricity system more reliable, as the utilities claim, or if these all too common gas market fluctuations actually makes us more vulnerable to price shocks and potential outages.

Instead of rushing to approve more risky gas plants, our state and our utilities should prioritize reliable sources of clean, local energy like energy storage, solar and efficiency.

We still don't think Pio Pico should have been approved. But at the very least, the buck (the $1.6B buck) should stop there. Moving forward, let's use the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station as an opportunity to reduce dependence on risky gas-fired power and instead shift to reliable, local and modern clean energy technology.

Chula Vista SignChula Vista City Councilmember Pamela Bensoussan recently urged the California Public Utilities Commission to deny a fossil fuel power plant proposed for Otay Mesa, an area of existing high pollution levels,  known as Pio Pico. 

Councilmember Bensoussan's letter expresses concern that Pio Pico would further burden the community with additional pollution and "repeats a familiar pattern of concentrating the region's polluting activities in South County." She also cites concern about the project's impact on climate change and on the community's choice to secure clean energy.

Thank you Councilmember Bensoussan for standing up for health and clean energy in our communities!

Here's how you can take a stand and join her:

  • Sign this petition to tell our state's energy regulators you don't want the polluting Pio Pico power plant in San Diego.
  • Sign this letter to elected officials who represent the South Bay area to ask them to take a stand against Pio Pico.

Learn more about Pio Pico here.