Energy Commission Agrees to Freeze Puente Power Plant Proceedings for Six Months

November 3, 2017

Three-Year Battle by the Community and Environmental Advocates to Block Construction of a 4th Power Plant on Oxnard’s Beaches Drags On

Oxnard, CA — More than three years into our battle against NRG Energy’s proposed Puente Power Plant, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and our clients are disappointed with today’s decision by the California Energy Commission to grant NRG’s request to pause permit proceedings for its project. Since the beginning, NRG has been rushing its application through the Energy Commission proceedings, zealously opposing prior requests by opponents to pause the process in order to fill in large gaps in the project’s environmental review. NRG’s move to now halt the proceedings appears to be an effort to avoid the ultimate denial that the two presiding Energy Commissioners announced they would recommend earlier this month.

Photo by Linda Krop.

“Dragging out the denial of NRG’s harmful and unnecessary power plant undermines the community’s effort to move forward on a path to clean energy,” noted Alicia Roessler, Staff Attorney for the Environmental Defense Center, which represents the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, Environmental Coalition of Ventura County, and EDC in the proceedings before the California Energy Commission. “We remain committed to protecting and restoring Oxnard’s shoreline for its residents to use and enjoy, and to ensure that it will not become blighted by a fourth unwanted coastal power plant.”

On October 5, 2017, the Energy Commission Committee overseeing NRG’s application issued a Statement that it intended to recommend denial of the project due its significant environmental impacts and violations of local and state laws and regulations. The Statement reflected information that had been submitted by EDC regarding the project’s unavoidable impacts to coastal wetlands, habitats, and rare wildlife. The Statement also supported the community’s preference for clean energy sources and recommended an expedited study to analyze the feasibility of such alternatives.

“We are disappointed with the Energy Commission’s decision to delay the proceedings of NRG’s dirty power plant project. Our community will continue our fight and urge the Energy Commission to follow through with its earlier Statement and deny the project, protecting our environment and the health of this already burdened community,” remarked Mike Stubblefield of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter.

“Denying the Puente project once and for all is critical if we are to protect our coast and adopt a clean energy future. After years of unacceptable pollution from big energy projects, this is the result our community deserves,” stated Janis McCormick, spokeswoman for the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County.

EDC and its clients were the first public intervenors in the CEC proceeding and provided expert testimony and volumes of evidence proving that the Puente Power Plant would cause irreversible harm to this coastal community and conflict with local and state law.

The Environmental Defense Center, a non-profit law firm, protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. EDC’s focus areas include protection of the Santa Barbara Channel, ensuring clean water, preserving open space and wildlife, and addressing climate and energy. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.

The Sierra Club is a national, environmental organization that protects communities, wild places, and the planet. The Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter serves Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Learn more about Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter at http://lospadres.sierraclub.org/

The Environmental Coalition of Ventura County is a confederation of citizens and local groups working together to protect the environment and the quality of life throughout Ventura County.

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