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Sunrise Powerlink hotly debated at public hearing


Aired 4/19/09

Supporters and opponents of the Sunrise Powerlink debated the controversial project at a public hearing last night. The California Public Utilities Commission is considering SDGE’s plan to build a 150-mile power line through the Imperial Valley and rural San Diego. KPBS Radio’s Andrew Phelps was at the hearing in Ramona.

Consumer advocate Michael Shames said the proceedings were “drier than James Bond’s martini,” that is, until more than a hundred people spoke up in the comment period. Shames does not have a position on the power line project yet - it was just accepted by state regulators last week. But local AFLCIO chief Jerry Butkiewicz has long supported the project.  

Jerry Butkiewicz: People don’t even know the ancillary jobs this stuff’s gonna create. The blades for the windmills are going to come in through our port., so our longshoreman are gonna be able to handle that product. We’re gonna assemble it with our workers in Imperial Valley. 

The trade group BIOCOM joins the list of powerful groups in approval. Congressman Bob Filner announced he formally opposes the project, and environmentalists continue to complain the project tramples state wilderness. For KPBS, I’m Andrew Phelps.

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