San Diego Gas & Electric
Environmental Impact Report
Master Special Use Permit Project and Permit to Construct Power Line Replacement Projects
Notification of Availability and of a Public Meeting
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine, California 91901
Southern California, one of the most renewable-rich regions in California, is ground zero for the San Diego backcountry.
According to SDG&E, the five-year project, spread throughout an approximately 880 square mile area in eastern San Diego County, will make the transmission system more reliable and reduce the risk of wildfire. However, the $418 million project is being criticized by local residents and organizations.
This could be a first step in a grander plan to eventually increase the amount of power that could be carried by the lines. Two representatives of the Protect Our Communities Foundation, an environmental group that formed during the lengthy Sunrise Powerlink debate several years ago, told Administrative Law Judge Jean Vieth that they don’t believe the goal of the project is only to replace decades old transmission lines and make them resistant to fire.
Opponents and residents claim the Powerlink would be a scar on the landscape that will be visible for miles.
“Not everyone is enthused about this project. Residents of the backcountry will be the most affected by the potential damage to their property and the environment,” said Lisa Elkins of Back Country Voices.
“Julian is one of the most scenic areas in San Diego County. It is a recreational resource for the entire County. It offers its residents and visitors a place to experience tranquility and the beauty of undisturbed nature, we would like to keep it that way.”
“The route and geography of the areas effected are strikingly similar to the Sunrise Powerlink. In addition, the Power Line Replacement Projects will carry power from any number of unsightly solar and wind farms at the taxpayers expense.”
For example, the $700 million ‘San Diego Smart Energy 2020′ initiative, will cost SDG&E customers 10 percent of the $7 billion lifecycle cost of the ongoing Sunrise Powerlink transmission project.
Many of the projects and companies that were awarded tens-of-billions of taxpayer money (both stimulus and other clean-energy funds), but also the green jobs debacle and the “green energy outsourcing,” have cost taxpayers an additional $10.5 million.
Environmental review of the proposed construction of the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Master Special Use Permit Project (MSUP) and Permit to Construct (PTC) Power Line Replacement Projects is located in and around the Cleveland National Forest (CNF) in San Diego County, California.
San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) is proposing to combine over 70 existing special use permits for SDG&E electric facilities within the Cleveland National Forest (CNF) into one Master Special Use Permit (MSUP) to be issued by the United States Forest Service (Forest Service). As shown in the Project Location Map, the CNF MSUP study area is located within the Trabuco Ranger District in Orange County, California and the Palomar and Descanso Ranger Districts in unincorporated areas of San Diego County, California.
In addition to requesting Forest Service authorization of the MSUP allowing for the continued operation and maintenance of SDG&E’s existing electric facilities within the CNF, SDG&E is replacing certain existing 69 kV power lines and 12 kV distribution lines located within and outside of the CNF. The proposed Power Line Replacement Projects would primarily include fire hardening along with relocation and undergrounding of certain facilities. As shown in the Project Location Map, the power line and distribution facilities proposed [which is already happening] to be replaced are located within the central portion of San Diego County north of the US Mexico Border, east of the City of El Cajon, in the vicinity of the unincorporated communities of Alpine, Boulevard, Pine Valley, Descanso, Campo, Pauma Valley, Santa Ysabel, Julian, and Warner Springs.
SDG&E’s proposed power line replacement projects not only traverses National Forest System lands, but due to the patchwork of land ownership in the project study area, also traverses lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); tribal lands of the La Jolla, Campo, Inaja/Cosmit, and Viejas Indian Reservations managed by the respective tribes and held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); Cuyamaca Rancho State Park lands managed by Cuyamaca Rancho State Parks (CSP); lands under the jurisdiction of the City of San Diego, and private holdings within unincorporated San Diego County.
The Forest Service has reviewed the application and accepted the proposal with modifications to “certain actions” on National Forest System lands. The federal proposed action has been modified from the action described in the Notice of Intent. Modifications to the federal proposed action were made in response to suggestions from the public and agencies during scoping, and by the cooperating federal agencies.
In order to help affected communities understand the safety and environmental impact, and to explain how the public can comment on the CPUC, the Forest Service will hold an informational meeting on October 1, 2014. At this informational workshop, the EIR/EIS team and CPUC/Forest Service staff will be available to respond to questions and provide clarification regarding the organization and content of the DEIR/DEIS.
Lead Agencies:California Public Utilities Commission United States Department of the Agriculture, Forest Service,Cleveland National Forest Cooperating /Responsible Agencies: California State Department of Parks and Recreation Bureau of Indian Affairs / Bureau of Land Management will be addressing questions and concerns.
Residents of the backcountry will be most affected by these projects. Concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting.