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Ground Broken On Sunrise Powerlink Amid Protest

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Video published December 10, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: SDG&E broke ground on the controversial Sunrise Powerlink project Thursday. For years, local residents, community leaders, organizations and elected officials fought the project, concerned in part that the route will traverse some of the most fire prone areas of San Diego County. KPBS Fronteras Reporter Ruxandra Guidi explains why tribal leaders oppose the powerlink and what is being done now to stop the project from progressing.

The controversial Sunrise Powerlink broke ground Thursday. For years, groups of individuals, community leaders, organizations and elected officials fought the project, concerned in part that the route will traverse some of the most fire prone areas of San Diego county, including the area that was burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire. KPBS Fronteras Reporter Ruxandra Guidi was at the ceremony yesterday.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CONTROVERSIAL SUNRISE POWER LINK BROKE GROUND THURSDAY. THE INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY LEADERS, ORGANIZATIONS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS FOUGHT THE PROJECT FOR YEARS. THEY WERE CONCERNED IN PART THAT THE ROUTE WILL TRAVERSE SOME OF THE MOST FIRE-PRONE AREAS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY, INCLUDING THE AREA BURNED IN THE 2003 CEDAR FIRE. KPBS REPORTER WAS AT AT THE CEREMONY YESTERDAY. WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO SDGE.

WE ARE TALKING OF A NETWORK OF NINE PROJECTS, GREEN ENERGY PROJECTS THAT WOULD BRING GEO THERMAL SOLAR AND WIND POWER THROUGH THIS TRANSMISSION LINE ACROSS FROM THE VALLEY INTO SAN DIEGO COUNTY, 117-MILES LONG. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT WOULD BASICALLY PROVIDE ENERGY TO 650,000 HOMES FROM L.A. TO THE MEXICO BORDER.

IT FITS IN WITH THE WHOLE GREEN ENERGY THRUSTS WE ARE SEEING NOW. ONE WOULD THINK IT IS RATHER POPULAR. APPARENTLY IT CAN'T. YOU ARE GOING TO TELL US WHO SHOWED UP AT THE GROUND BREAKING. ONE PERSON SHOWED UP WITH GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER.

THE GOVERNOR IS THERE. HE IS ON HIS WAY OUT AS WE KNOW. THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR HIS TERM OF GOVERNOR BECAUSE HE'S BEEN PUSHING FOR GREEN ENERGY FOR JOB GENERATION FOR EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE ECONOMY OF THE IMPERIAL VALLEY BUT ALSO HARD ANSWERING THAT GREEN ENERGY POTENTIAL THAT THE AREA HAS AS A WAY TO PROMOTE GREEN ENERGY BOTH IN CALIFORNIA AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

WHAT HE HAD TO TALK ABOUT, HE SPOKE ABOUT THAT?

HE DID. HE FOCUSED ON JOB GENERATION AND ON GREEN ENERGY LOWERING OF CARBON EMISSIONS. HE SAID AS FAR AS THE PROJECT IS CONCERNED AFTER A FIVE YEAR- LONG ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW ALL PLAYERS FEEL LIKE THE PROJECT IS NOT VIOLATING ANY SORT OF ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS.

THEN THERE IS ALWAYS THE OTHER SIDE. THE PROTESTERS WHO SHOWED UP. DID THEY REPRESENT ANY PARTICULAR GROUPS?

SURE. THERE WERE ACTIVIST WHO HAS BEEN A VERY VOCAL MEMBER OF THE ENVIRONMENTALIST AGAINST THE PROJECT. THERE WERE TRIBAL MEMBERS THAT FEEL THAT THIS PROJECT IS BASICALLY VIOLATING THEIR RIGHTS OVER TERRITORY THAT THEY FEEL IS THEIRS. ALSO, THE PROJECT WOULD BASICALLY OCCUPY SOME OF THEIR BURIAL GROUNDS.

I WOULD THINK ARTIFACTS WOULD BE PART OF A CONCERN.

THAT'S RIGHT.

IS ANY SIGN THERE IS A CONCERTED MOVE TO STOP THE PIPELINE FROM HAPPENING?

IT IS INTERESTING BECAUSE I GOT THE SENSE THAT A LOT OF THESE DIFFERENT PROTESTERS ARE NOT NECESSARILY PROTESTING TOGETHER. THEY HAVE DIFFERENT AGENDAS. THEY ARE NOT TALKING. BUT SEPARATELY THEY HAVE STARTED LAWSUITS. RIGHT NOW THERE ARE A COUPLE OF THEM PENDING IN DISTRICT AND SUPREME COURT. I HEAR IN THE NEXT TWO TO THREE WEEKS WE MAY SEE NEW LEGAL CHALLENGES.

INTERESTING. SO IT IS NOT A DONE DEAL.

NOT AT ALL.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

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