Energy

SDG&E Tries to Bully San Diego – Refuses to Negotiate Extension of Franchise Agreement

November 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

SDG&E is throwing its weight around and trying to bully San Diego. And in particular, it’s trying to bully Georgette Gomez, president of the city council.

In a letter sent to city officials Thursday, SDG&E – who has had a 100-year monopoly on our electricity and gas – said it would refuse to consider an extension to the franchise agreement for one year – something city officials are asking for in order to allow the new city council to have a say in all of it. The new city council – with 5 new members – is sworn in on December 10.

SDG&E senior vice president and general counsel Diana Day stated in the letter:

“We do not believe that a one-year extension is in the best interest of the City or San Diego electric and gas consumers.”

Setting aside the audaciousness of that statement,

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Council President Gomez Pushes Decision on Electric and Gas Franchise to the Next City Council

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City Councilmember Georgette Gomez – fresh off her defeat to Sara Jacobs for the 53rd Congressional District – is still Council President and on Monday, Gomez sent out a memo about the city’s electric and gas franchise that pleased many.

She announced that she will not place the franchise agreement on the council docket, which, significantly means the current council will not have a final decision on any agreement. The incoming council – with five new members – will rightly make the decision on the lucrative deal. The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Gomez:

“Granting these franchises is a momentous decision for the City Council that should not be rushed, especially when a new Council and a new Mayor are about to be inaugurated. Unfortunately, the ambitious timeline and process initially presented to the Council and the public was not followed and, at this juncture, this is the most appropriate path forward.”

Gómez also requested Mayor Kevin Faulconer to write up a one-year extension to the existing agreement , held by San Diego Gas & Electric and which ends in two months. SDG&E has had the monopoly for a century. The five new council members will be sworn into office December 10 – along with Mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

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Florida’s Crystal River Nuke Plant Shows Folly of Nuclear Power

November 9, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world.

We’ll use the case of the Crystal River nuke plant in Florida to illustrate the increasing folly of nuclear power.

The US introduced nuclear power to the US public as “too cheap to meter,” with the Atoms For Peace program in the 1950s, after the horrors of atomic weapons the US used to decimate the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was exposed. The federal government employed heavy subsidies and post WWII patriotic zeal to encourage reluctant electric utilities to begin building nuclear plants.

The Crystal River nuke plant began construction in the 1960s and its reactor began generating electricity in the 1970s.

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Mayor Faulconer to Add Two More Notches to His Legacy Belt

October 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has about six weeks left in his occupation of the mayor’s office. Either Bry or Gloria – both Democrats – will be sworn in on December 10. And Faulconer will leave his stint in city politics, which included being the head executive since he won that special election in February 2014 when Bob Filner resigned. Before that, Faulconer was the councilmember for District 2 – which includes Ocean Beach and most of Point Loma, of course – for 8 years.

Yet, he is too young to retire. And riding on the history that with Kevin as mayor, San Diego was the largest city in America with a Republican mayor, a future political office is not out of the question. In fact, there’s been all kinds of speculations that he was positioning himself to run for California governor. To do that, he needs a legacy –

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Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives

October 2, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown New October 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives – A Case in Point

As reported in last month’s Nuclear Shutdown News, a violent storm damaged the Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa, and hastened its already scheduled permanent shutdown.

In the September 8 Des Moines Journal, Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (radiation.org) made the case that closing the plant will mean there will be less radioactivity caused diseases in surrounding areas.

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Mayor Faulconer’s Utility Franchise Plan Is a Multi-billion Dollar Giveaway

September 24, 2020 by Source

From Public Power San Diego

Mayor Faulconer’s last-minute decision to proceed with a new franchise agreement will result in a multi-billion dollar giveaway of a key City asset, at a time when the community is reeling from multiple crises and has failed to consider better options, Public Power San Diego (PPSD) said Wednesday, Sept 23.

“Everyone with eyes open sees tourism and other industries collapsing, with tens of thousands losing their jobs, all while the need to address the climate crisis grows ever more urgent,” said Craig Rose of Public Power San Diego, which advocates for the creation of a non-profit publicly owned utility.

“The City Council must insist on careful consideration of its options, including a public utility, instead of this giveaway that would lock us into paying the highest utility rates in California for 20 years.”

PPSD urges the city council to reject any franchise deal on the proposed terms and instead begin immediate planning and transition toward a public utility.

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Nukes, Storms and Hurricanes

September 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News September 2020

By Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world.

Midwest ‘Derecho’ Storm Forces Shutdown of Iowa Nuke Plant

On August 8, Nagasaki Day, a violent storm with hurricane force winds knocked out power at the Duane Arnold nuclear plant, 11 miles from Cedar Rapids, IA. The Star Tribune reported that the plant “lost connection with the electrical grid and declared an Unusual Event, the lowest of four kinds of nuke plant emergencies.”

“The loss of power triggered an automatic shutdown” of the plant’s reactor, the Star Tribune reported. “It also “damaged the plant’s cooling towers, which are used to cool steam after it emits from the plant’s turbine.”

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Blackout Blackmail Behind Mid-August Power Outages?

September 3, 2020 by Source

by Thomas D. Elias / The Coast News / September 2, 2020

Never before in California’s long experience with power blackouts have systematic, preplanned outages been as short as the 20-minute to 30-minute electric shutdowns inflicted on about 3 million homes and businesses around the state in mid-August.

Without doubt these blackouts were pre-planned. “(We will have) excessive weather conditions and a persistent shortage of electric supply for the California grid,” said a warning texted to electric customers hours ahead of the first outages.

There was a lot odd about this, aside from the short span of the blackouts. Gov. Gavin Newsom said later he didn’t learn of the shutdowns until just beforehand,

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Millions of Dollars in Criminal Conspiracies Keep Aging Nuke Plants Operating

August 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News August 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Nuke Plant Multi-million Dollar Criminal Conspiracies Exposed

On July 23 Bloomberg News reported “Scandals taint efforts to save US nuclear plants.” The news service charged,” “Back to back scandals in Ohio and Illinois over the past week have given a black eye to efforts to prop up struggling US nuclear plants.”

As aging nuke plants continue to deteriorate and fail to make money, desperate utilities have been rolling out schemes to jack up prices on customers and funnel these ill gotten gains to corrupt politicos who further exploit the public to keep outdated nuclear plants spewing radioactivity into the environment from going under.

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3 Easy Ways to Influence Coastal Commission on San Onofre Nuclear Waste

July 9, 2020 by Source

From San Clemente Greens:

What could be worse than Global Pandemic, Climate Change and Socioeconomic upheaval?

Nuclear waste escaping containment all around the country if we fail to do something about it now, while we still can. Imagine getting through all of these tough challenges only to be undone when inescapable and everlasting radiation is allowed to contaminate our planet.

There’s still issues (and scandals) at San Onofre nuke plant.

So, here’s 3 easy things to do to influence the Coastal Commission on San Onofre nuke waste:

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The Virus and the Nukes

May 6, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News May 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future.

The Virus and the Nukes

As reported in last month’s Nuclear Shutdown News, the pandemic has been affecting workers at US nuclear plants.

The April 10 Philadelphia Inquirer reported that some workers at the Limerick nuke plant in Pennsylvania had tested positive for the virus and 44 others had been quarantined “because they may have come in contact with infected workers.”

Limerick shut down one of its reactors in early March to switch out old nuclear fuel and replace it with new, a process known as refueling. At that time safety measures to discourage the spread of the coronavirus were not yet in place. While this work is going on, up to 1000 extra workers are added. They all need places to stay and eat locally.

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Simple, Solar-Powered Water Desalination

February 12, 2020 by Source

System achieves new level of efficiency in harnessing sunlight to make fresh potable water from seawater.

By David L. Chandler / MIT News Office / February 6, 2020

A completely passive solar-powered desalination system developed by researchers at MIT and in China could provide more than 1.5 gallons of fresh drinking water per hour for every square meter of solar collecting area. Such systems could potentially serve off-grid arid coastal areas to provide an efficient, low-cost water source.

The system uses multiple layers of flat solar evaporators and condensers, lined up in a vertical array and topped with transparent aerogel insulation. … The key to the system’s efficiency lies in the way it uses each of the multiple stages to desalinate the water.

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Nuke Plant Millstone and Me – 2020

December 4, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

As a new decade approaches, I find myself reflecting on the 21st anniversary of my 1998 book, Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation in Southeastern Connecticut.

Perhaps the story of this book began with my mother. Midge, as everyone called her, was a nurse, and long before feminism, cell phones and networking, spent significant amounts of time talking with her women friends on the phone.

In our home in the small town of Niantic in shoreline Southeastern Connecticut on Long Island Sound, there wasn’t a whole lot of privacy, and Midge’s conversations were broadcast around the house with little regard for who overheard her.

As time went on and my ears got larger and more curious, I couldn’t help but notice that the topic of cancer was becoming increasingly prominent.

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Last Summer’s ‘Mysterious’ Nuclear Explosion in Russia

November 1, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News October 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Last Summer’s “Mysterious” Nuclear Explosion

As this year winds down a nuclear weapons explosion last summer still begs for our attention. What does this incident, half way around the world in another country, have to do with the nuclear power plants in this country?

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SDG&E Refuses to Credit Ratepayers for Blackouts.

October 31, 2019 by Source

By Miriam Raftery / East County Magazine / Oct. 31, 2019

A day after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the California Public Utilities Commission to create tough new rules limiting mass outages by utilities seeking to limit their liability for fires and mandating compensation for ratepayers, PG&E announced it will credit its ratepayers for blackouts, Newsom announced.

But San Diego Gas & Electric is refusing to do the same.

In respond to East County Magazine’s inquiry, SDG&E communications manager Wes Jones responded yesterday,

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This House Design Is Completely Free to Download and Has a Net-Zero Footprint

October 4, 2019 by Source

Anyone can download the plans for this elegant three-bedroom home, which won Phoenix, Arizona’s competition aimed at jumpstarting energy-efficient construction.

By Evan Nicole Brown / Fast Company

A few years ago, city officials in Phoenix, Arizona, were looking for a way to address the need for more sustainable architecture in their hot, arid environment. Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the United States — and as a result, has a significant environmental footprint. But in 2016, officials debuted a road map designed to transform it into a completely carbon-neutral, zero-waste city.

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Public Watchdogs Call for Court to Halt Burial of Nuclear Waste at San Onofre

September 4, 2019 by Source

On August 28, Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit advocacy group, requested an immediate court-order to halt the transfer of deadly radioactive nuclear waste at the San Onofre Nuke plant into “thin-walled” dry storage canisters.

The group filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the United States District Court, and is petitioning the courts to step in and protect the environment and the lives of more than 8 million people who live within the radiation plume zone identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The attorney for Public Watchdogs, Chuck La Bella, stated:

“My immediate concern is for the health and safety of the millions of people who could be impacted by a toxic cloud being released from SONGS. The consequences of a nuclear accident are catastrophic and would last for generations.”

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California Has Its Faults – Big Quakes Shake Up All Things Nuclear Too

July 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

San Francisco – October 17, 1989. It was my birthday. I was four stories up in Frisco, in my brother’s place, visiting while he was in New York. Looking south, I could see the Goodyear Blimp hovering over Candlestick Park, where the Bay Bridge World Series game – Giants vs. Oakland Athletics – was about to start as Friday rush hour approached.

Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a humungus concussion jolted everything,

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‘Another One Bites the Dust’ – Nuke Plant on Cape Cod Goes Down

July 3, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News June 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Massachusetts Nuke Plant Goes Down and Out

At the end of May the 46 year old Pilgrim nuclear plant on Cape Cod in Massachusetts joined the growing list of outdated financial losers whose time has passed across the nation.

Located in Plymouth on Cape Cod Bay, only 50 miles from Boston, Pilgrim’s boiling water reactor has the same design as the three Fukushima reactors that melted down in Japan in 2011.

It’s original owner, Boston Edison, took three years to build this plant at a cost of $231 million. It began operating in 1972.

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‘No Nukes’ News from May 2019: Three Mile Island Nuke Plant Shutting Down – Finally!

June 4, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Blackrain Press

On May 8 the New York Times reported, “Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant Is Shutting Down.”The story explained that Chicago-based Exelon, the plant’s owner, would be permanently closing the plant at the end of this September because it had been losing money, and a plan for the state of Pennsylvania to bail it out had failed.

There are two nuclear reactor’s at the plant. Reactor #1 started up in 1974, so it will be 45 years old when it shuts down in four month. The plant is located on the Susquehanna River, south of Harrisburg, the state capital.

Exelon is closing down reactor #1 even though it is licensed to operate it until 2034. The utility said that decommissioning the plant, taking down the structure and dealing with leftover high level nuclear waste, will cost $1.2 billion, but won’t even start until 2074.

What Is a “Partial” Meltdown?

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8 Years After, San Diego Federal Judge Throws Out Sailors’ Class Action for Injuries from Fukushima

April 3, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is out March 2019 report.

Eight Years on, Fukushima disaster continues-and so does the coverup

Exactly one week before the 8th anniversary of the March 11, 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Courthouse News Service ran its story, “Judge Tosses Radiation Class Action”. The story reported,

“Hundreds of American sailors who filed two class actions…”

The sailors were on the then-San Diego home ported aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan

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Don’t Turn On Your Lights – New SDG&E ‘Tier’ Billing Begins

March 1, 2019 by Judi Curry

The Old Broad Cautions Her Readers

So today begins the new “gouging” by SDG&E. Their “tier” structure for billing begins and if you are not careful it is going to cost you more than keeping the old light bulbs.

This new plan, called “Time of Use” will work this way:

There will be “off peak” and “on peak” hours. And even though it is “optional” – you will automatically be placed in one of the two plans. You CAN opt out if you want to do so. The “on peak” hours – the most expensive, will be from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. Now let me get this straight. That is the time that most of us are coming home from work. That is the time that most of us are cooking our dinner –

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Ice Shuts Down 1 New Jersey Reactor; Age to Shut Down 3 Chicago Nuke Plants

March 1, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News February 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Deep Freeze Shuts Down New Jersey Reactor.

On January 31 the Atlantic City Press reported, “Below freezing temperatures shutdown Salem reactor.” The report continued, “Central room operators shut down the Salem 2 reactor at 3 a.m. after ice accumulated in screens used to filter out debris before water from the Delaware River is pumped into the plants,” a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official explained.

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What Happens When the Owner of a Nuclear Plant Goes Bankrupt?

January 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News January 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

The January 16 San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “PG&E bankruptcy coming this month.” A followup story on January 18 described Pacific Gas & Electric as “the state’s largest investor-owned utility.”

The Jan 16 lead article reported that the company was facing “$30 billion in potential wildfire liability,” had “$4.4 billion market value” as of 1-14, had lost $25 billion since last year’s Camp fire destroyed almost 19,000 structures and took 80-some lives in the Northern California town of Paradise, and had $1.5 billion in cash as of Jan. 11.”

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Nuclear Shutdown News October 2018: Millstone and Oyster Creek Nukes

November 13, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our October 2018 report.

Twenty Years On

This month marks the 20th year since my book Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation first appeared in the 10th month of 1998.

This work was inspired by Dr. Ernest Sternglass, whose groundbreaking early 1980s book Secret Fallout: From Hiroshima to Three Mile Island exposed the dangers of so-called “low level” radiation to human health.

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Was There a Near-Fukushima Event on the Atlantic During Hurricane Florence?

October 10, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for September 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future. Here is our September 2018 report.

A Near-Fukushima on the Atlantic?

On September 17 the Raleigh News & Observer reported, “Floods limit access to Duke’s Brunswick nuclear plant: crews us partopotties, cots.”

Did the Atlantic coast have a near-Fukushima event when during September Hurricane Florence made landfall?

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Speak Out Against the Nuke Dump on the Beach at San Onofre

August 7, 2018 by Staff

State Lands Commission to Hear Public Comments on San Onofre Decommissioning Plans at Meetings in Oceanside and San Clemente

Anti-nuke activists are mobilizing at two upcoming meetings of the California State Lands Commission in order to ‘speak out against the nuke dump’ at San Onofre. One is in Oceanside and the other is in San Clemente.

The California State Lands Commission is the lead organization conducting the Environmental Impact Report on the San Onofre decommissioning project.

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San Onofre Shutdown Problems Continue

August 1, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our July 2018 report.

San Onofre shutdown problems continue to multiply

Just when you thought nothing more could go wrong with the San Onofre nuclear plant’s shutdown process, new issues have emerged. The latest ones are associated with its location: a spectacular Southern California beach that is also one of the Pacific Coast’s premier surfing magnets.

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Wind Farms – Not Nuke Plants

July 3, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News June 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our June 2018 report.

While Nukes Continue to Fade Away, the Answer Is Increasingly Blowing In the Wind

While most attention has been paid to California’s last two nuclear plants shutting down, New England has had more close permanently

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Utilities Commission Rejects San Diego Gas & Electric’s Pipeline

June 22, 2018 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

The California Public Utilities Commission placed the welfare of San Diego County citizens and wildlife ahead of San Diego Gas & Electric’s profits yesterday, June 21.

The 5-member commission voted unanimously to reject SDG&E and its partner Southern California Gas’ bid to install 47 miles of new pipeline from the Rainbow Metering Station near Fallbrook down through Miramar, mostly along Interstate 15. Another potential route these utilities were considering would have taken the line through Mission Trails Regional Park.

The rejected Pipeline 3602 would have been 36 inches wide and have had five times the carrying capacity of existent 16-inch-wide Pipeline 1600. In an effort to avoid making potential repairs to Line 1600, SDG&E’s plan was to reduce the operating pressure on that line and to run new Pipeline 3602 at high pressure.

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