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Sunrise is a link to the past

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
March 28, 2008


Recent news of the Bush Administration reducing the range of habitat for the endangered Peninsula Big Horn sheep came as no surprise. From the moment Team Bush took office the natural heritage and environmental quality of California has been on the auction block, the chopping block and in the cross hairs. So it is safe to say ovis canadensis will not be the last species targeted by the Bush crusade against the environment.

In George W. Bush's America it makes perfect sense to have the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service a agency cut Big Horn sheep habitat in Southern California from 844,897 to 384,410 acres even though only 800 survive in the United States. Just as Bush's Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 was really a call for deforestation, and his Clear Skies Initiative was about letting free market polluters police themselves, shrinking habitat protections for the Big Horns is also about corporate profits.

As I read the news about government sponsored reduction of the endangered Big Horn desert habitat it occurred to me that this was happening against the backdrop of the Sunrise Powerlink fight. Sensing a connection between the Bush administrations removing 460, 487 acres of the California desert from protected status and San Diego Gas And Electric 's proposed 130-mile-long transmission line from Mexicali to coastal North San Diego County, I found one.

By removing protection for Big Horn Sheep, Team Bush is helping SDG&E remove obstacles to its plan to string transmission lines across the desert,over mountains and through Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. It also is a necessary link in connecting Sempra Energy's Mexicali power plants with the Greater Los Angeles region.

Stringing power lines is so 20th century.

I am opposed to the Sunrise Powerlink for several reasons. First is that it runs through Anza Borrego State Park. Second it's that a private utility is asking to profit from adversely affecting protected public lands. Thirdly, the power link is designed to import electricity while reducing reliance on local generation.

According to it's web site "SDG&E must expand its transmission system to ensure it can reliably import enough cost effective electricity into the region to meet the growing demand. The Sunrise Powerlink would also reduce reliance on local, aging power plants that are less efficient and more expensive to operate."

The people of San Diego county need to be more self reliant not less. Sustainability is not about stringing wires across the desert and over mountains. Residents of coastal cities would be better served by placing solar collectors on every roof of every building. It is not in the best interests of coastal residents to sacrifice environmental quality for outdated infrastructure or entrust their energy needs to the Sempra Energy generation/transmission monopoly. Self sufficiency is key to achieving sustainability.

The people of Southern California don't need more transmission lines, what they need is a path forward to new technologies, locally based, for at need generation.

Sunrise Powerlink is so 20th century.

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