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February 27, 2008 > Power plant bill introduced that mandates local approval

Power plant bill introduced that mandates local approval

Submitted By Chris Parman

Assembly Member Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) announced on Tuesday, Feb. 19, that she has introduced Assembly Bill 1909 in response to a proposed construction of a second thermal power plant within the city of Hayward. AB 1909 would require the State Energy Resources and Development Commission, more commonly known as the California Energy Commission (CEC), to obtain the approval of the local governing body for the construction of additional thermal power plants and related facilities in a jurisdiction with a preexisting thermal power plant. The CEC would also be required to ensure that the construction conforms to all applicable local ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS).

"AB 1909 will amend the current law so that no single community's LORS can be overruled if they already host a power plant in their jurisdiction. It will also prevent a city such as Hayward from shouldering the environmental and health burdens of producing our state's energy," stated Hayashi.

The Eastshore Energy Center (Eastshore), if approved by the CEC, will become the second power plant located a few miles from a previously approved 600 megawatt Russell City Energy Center. Eastshore, a 115 megawatt power plant, shall be permitted to emit 54 tons of nitrogen oxides, 84 tons of carbon monoxide, 64 tons of particulate matter known as PM10 and six tons of sulfur dioxide on an annual basis. These emissions will create enormous environmental problems and adversely impact the region's air quality resulting in higher rates of respiratory ailments such as asthma among our seniors and children.

"The city of Hayward has done its fair share," stated Hayashi. "The city of Hayward has stated to the CEC that Eastshore does not conform to Hayward's zoning standards due to its close proximity to homes, schools and businesses. Within a mile of Eastshore there are three colleges with a combined population of more than 16,000 students, single and multi-family homes with a population of approximately 8,000 residents and Eden Gardens Elementary School educating 540 kindergarten to six grade children."

According to the bill, cities may continue to welcome more than one thermal energy center if they so choose, but the CEC can only override a local governing body's LORS just one time. This will create a system where all Californians share equally in meeting our state's energy needs.

Hayashi serves the 18th Assembly District, which includes San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, most of Castro Valley and Pleasanton, a portion of Oakland, as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, Sunol and San Lorenzo.

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