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State Agency Considers New Power Plant Policy

Rules Would Protect Marine Life

The California state water board is considering a policy to protect marine life from the massive water-intake systems used to cool power plants along the coast.

The regulations would apply to 19 plants that suck in billions of gallons of ocean and estuary water daily for cooling.

The process inadvertently traps millions of fish and billions of larvae and eggs every year.

Joe Geever with the Surfrider Foundation is at the hearings in Sacramento.

He said the 19 California power plants use outdated technology known as "once-through-cooling" and nearly all operate under long-expired permits.

Geever said the potential policy would have some effect on two plants in San Diego County - the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista and the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad.

"South Bay is scheduled to go off line and be demolished sooner or later within the next several years anyway," said Geever. "Encina has a date in this policy, there's a compliance schedule, they would be required to reduce their entrainment and impingement."

The state water board is expected to vote on a requirement that power plants use the "best technology possible" in the interest of protecting aquatic organisms.

The hearings started at 9 a.m.

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