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US Forest Service Approves SDG&E Sunrise Powerlink Through Cleveland National Forest

Audio

Aired 7/13/10

The U.S. Forest Service has approved San Diego Gas and Electric's plan to build a portion of the 120-mile long Sunrise Powerlink transmission line through the Cleveland National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has approved San Diego Gas and Electric's plan to build a portion of the 120-mile long Sunrise Powerlink transmission line through the Cleveland National Forest.

The proposed route for the Sunrise Powerlink.
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Above: The proposed route for the Sunrise Powerlink.

The approval means SDG&E has cleared the last regulatory hurdle for the nearly $2 billion Sunrise Powerlink electrical transmission line project.

SDG&E said the new power line will carry renewable energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal power, from the Imperial Valley to the San Diego region.

SDG&E's President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Niggli said the company will start construction in the fall.

"We're looking to put 400-500 people to work almost immediately on the transmission line," said Niggli.

Niggli said renewable energy projects in Imperial County that have been waiting for the Sunrise Powerlink can move forward.

He said those projects are expected to create several thousand green jobs in a county with one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S.

"This will eventually really open up the door to southwest corridor resources into California," said Arthur O'Donnell, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions in San Francisco.

"That will be a good thing for San Diego because the area has a hard time accessing renewable resources due to its location," he said.

David Hogan with the Protect Our Communities Foundation said the forest service approval will be challenged.

"The Protect Our Communities Foundation and possibly other groups will certainly be filing a lawsuit over this decision," said Hogan. “It’s just sad to see the forest service really throw away its responsibility to protect people from wildfire and to protect the natural environment of the Cleveland National Forest.”

SDG&E's Niggli said the company does not expect any legal challenges to succeed.

"Although there may be some challenges, we think the project has been the most reviewed and most thoroughly scrutinized in the history of the state of California for an electrical transmission project," said Niggli.

Niggli said the Sunrise Powerlink is expected to be completed in 2012.

Comments

Avatar for user 'LauraPsi7'

LauraPsi7 | July 13, 2010 at 7:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

You can make a donation to help stop this project online at www.protectourcommunities.org. Protect Our Communities Foundation is 501c3 not for profit organization. They are 100% donor supported, and are actively fighting this project. See more on their website.

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