Federal Judge Hears Arguments In Sunrise Powerlink Case While Other Problems Mount

by on June 23, 2011 · 0 comments

in Energy, Environment, San Diego

By East County Magazine / June 23, 2011

An attorney representing local groups opposed to Sunrise Powerlink presented arguments in U.S. District Court yesterday in San Diego, seeking to halt construction of the line on lands in East County owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Volker represented the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps and the East County Community Action Coalition. Volker argued that the BLM’s environmental review was inadequate and that its approval of Powerlink will increase the number of acres of protected lands open to development from 51 acres to 41,000 acres in McCain Valley, a scenic federally owned wilderness area.

Volker further contended that the agency failed to protect or minimize damage to scenic, environmental and cultural resources by exempting Sunrise Powerlink from its Resource Management Plan Studies of cultural and biological resources were not even conducted until after the BLM approved of Powerlink construction—even though the route had been changed from the original course through Anza-Borrego to a new Southern Route through East County and the Cleveland National Forest.

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Sunrise Powerlink has other problems – dropped towers and eagles

By Jeff MacDonald / SignOnSanDiego / June 22, 2011

Two slip-ups involving helicopters hauling massive steel towers, and two reports about the safety of golden eagles, have raised questions about management of the Sunrise Powerlink construction project in East County.

The most serious incident was June 7, when a 16,000-pound chunk of steel-lattice tower plunged 200 feet from the sky and came to rest 24 feet from a busy Imperial County highway.

San Diego Gas & Electric put the helicopter back into service three days later. That day, three of the four hooks securing a different section of a steel tower came unhinged in mid-flight and the helicopter was able to safely lower it to the ground.

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