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Group Wants South Bay Power Plant Closed Now

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Aired 5/12/10

Environmental groups and some Chula Vista officials want the South Bay Power Plant shut down immediately rather than later this year. The first step in that process could happen at a meeting in San Diego Wednesday.

Environmental groups and some Chula Vista officials want the South Bay Power Plant shut down immediately rather than later this year. The first step in that process could happen at a meeting in San Diego Wednesday.

The South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is set to be demolished, after shutting down operations earlier this year.
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Above: The South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista is set to be demolished, after shutting down operations earlier this year.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board will consider whether to move up the scheduled shut down date for the South Bay Power Plant on Chula Vista's bay front.

The 50-year-old plant operated by Dynegy Energy is scheduled to be closed at the end of this year.

But Gabe Solmer with San Diego Coastkeeper said closing it next month will reduce harm to marine life.

"This is a plant that endangers public health, it endangers the well-being of our natural environment and it's time to go," said Solmer.

She said the South Bay Power Plant uses "once-through-cooling" where water is sucked in from the sea and then discharged back into the ocean.

Solmer said the warmer discharge kills marine life and prevents critical eelgrass from growing.

"Terminating the discharge is really the first step to being able to reclaim that bay front for people and the natural environment," said Solmer.

She said the summer months are critical for the growth of eelgrass and fish larvae.

The California Water Resources Board recently adopted a policy requiring power plant cooling systems to be upgraded.

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