Stop the Secret Power Plant Deal in University City!

by on June 23, 2012 · 1 comment

in Energy, Environment, Health, Organizing, San Diego

Site of proposed power plant – northeast corner of Nobel Dr and I-805.

What happens when you combine strong mayor Jerry Sanders with a Canadian firm’s desire to build an 800 MW gas-fired power plant in San Diego? You get a secret plan that is being fast tracked through the City Council with the intent of a November ballot measure to enable passage. You also get “business as usual” at City Hall. Hear more about the proposal and what you can do on Monday, June 25, 6pm at the University Community Planning Group meeting, Forum Hall, UTC Mall (above Wells Fargo Bank).

Matt Potter at the San Diego Reader describes how a power giant from Edmonton, Canada received approval to fund a San Diego campaign finance committee through it’s wholly owned American subsidiary, Capital Power US Holdings. A new plant would require the approval of city voters through a ballot measure. Capital Power US Holdings will provide the grease to support the passage of the measure and the question is whether there is enough grease to get it on the November 2012 ballot and whether the citizens will get wise to what’s going on.

According to Potter, “the Canadian- sponsored measure would not violate California’s ban against campaign funding by foreign interests.” Once the legal technicalities were conveniently out of the way, the proposal became part of the worm eaten core of City Hall.

The Friends of Rose Canyon has released an action alert to inform the community about this secret plan “to lease a large parcel of conservation land on Nobel Drive…to build a massive, ugly, pollution-emitting power plant in our community!” They are anticipating an avalanche of money and slick flyers from the power companies.

The group points out the community impacts of a power plant on the NE corner of Nobel/805:

* Close to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar runway

* Close to residential areas, only 1,500ft from the La Jolla Crossroads high-density apartments

* Close to schools, only .5 miles frm Congregation Beth Israel pre-school and high school

* 2,000 ft from North UC Library, Nobel Recreation Center, Nobel Playing Fields

* Site is multiple species conservation program (MSCP) land with vernal pools and California gnatcatchers


The Friends of Rose Canyon are no strangers to fighting the encroachment of proposed development on the area. They successfully challenged the Regents Road bridge effort in 2006 as well as the construction of hi-speed rail in 2011 through this environmentally sensitive canyon.

The City Council Rules Committee will hear the issue on Wednesday June 27, 9am, 12th floor City Hall. Contact to confirm the issue’s order on the agenda and for further details or contact Debby Knight, Friends of Rose Canyon at 858-597-0220

Author’s note: The images above are of gas-powered power plants in Utah and Minnesota. I have no idea what the proposed plant would look like here, but these images are worth keeping in mind. The image below is of Rose Canyon.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Laurie June 26, 2012 at 10:14 am

The power plant won’t be on the November ballot, but please stay vigilant. Capital Power of Canada has been planning it in secret along with Mayor Sanders for two years (without the knowledge of the city council) and they have already thrown a lot of money into it. They are not going to give up easily.

I am a University City homeowner and the parent of a young child. I received a letter from my city council member 6/21 and that was the first time I heard anything about this proposed power plant. My first impression was that it sounded like a bad idea, but I tried to keep an open mind and went to the 6/25 planning group meeting – not to comment, but listen and learn more.

The place was packed. There was standing room only when we got there. After listening to Capital Power’s spiel and a big load of BS from the Mayor’s representative, the citizens really let them have it. It’s too bad Sanders was not there himself because he deserves to take heat for this more than anyone. People are outraged for a number of very good reasons not the least of which is that if this plant is built it absolutely will have a negative impact on our health and our quality of life. Home owners, prospective home buyers, business owners, local environmentalists, parents, physicians, scientists, engineers, researchers – everyone was strongly against it, including our council member Sheri Lightner and her Republican opponent Ray Ellis. Not one single person voiced support. I left convinced this is a terrible idea and I intend to do whatever I can to help fight it. I don’t want it in my backyard or anyone else’s. Natural gas plants are NOT clean (despite what they will tell you) and we do not need to be building another one. There are better alternatives.

Quote from the letter sent from Capital Power to Mayor Sanders office on 6/25/12: “Rather than have this matter proceed to a city-wide vote in November 2012, our preference would be to begin the public engagement process now, in collaboration with the city, with a view to bringing this item forward in a future election once sufficient engagement has taken place.”

TRANSLATION – We know that this thing will not fly if put it to a vote in November, so we are going to dump an insane amount of cash into a PR campaign that we hope will convince voters to accept it at a later date.

Prepare yourself for the onslaught of lies and distortions. It is coming, and when it does I hope you won’t be fooled because our health and San Diego’s energy future depends on it.


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