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Parents Ask RBUSD to Oppose Power Plant

Anti-power plant activist and parent Dawn Esser asks the Redondo Beach Board of Education to write a letter to the California Energy Commission opposing the plan to repower AES Redondo Beach.

Two Redondo Beach parents asked the Redondo Beach Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting to consider passing a resolution to oppose the planned repowering—or rebuilding—of the AES Redondo Beach power plant on North Harbor Drive.

"Hazardous air pollution from this new plant will increase dramatically and will negatively affect the health of students," said Dawn Esser, an anti-power plant activist.

AES Redondo Beach has been at the center of a controversy over the past year, ever since AES Southland submitted a preliminary proposal to the state water board as to how it would comply with a new ban on once-through cooling.

The aging power plant uses once-through cooling, during which ocean water is used to cool the superheated steam used to spin the turbines that generate electricity, so it must be retired, rebuilt or obtain a special exemption to continue operating by 2020.

AES has said that it will rebuild the plant; however, opponents of the power plant have placed a measure on the March ballot called the Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative, which would rezone the AES property for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional uses and at least 60 percent parkland. Power generation would not be allowed on the property after 2020 if the measure passes.

In addition to placing the measure on the ballot, opponents of the power plant have also asked the Redondo Beach City Council and various community groups and institutions to take a stand against the plant. At Tuesday's school board meeting, Esser asked board members to pass a resolution and write to the California Energy Commission to oppose AES' plans to build a new power plant on the site.

The California Energy Commission will ultimately decide whether to grant AES A permit to rebuild the plant.

"The project is in direct conflict with the Vitality City, Blue Zones Project that this board supports," she said.

Scott Kaplan, another parent, concurred. "I've personally talked with many parents that are scared about our kids' health … Parents need, they want, and they respectfully demand reassurance" that the board will protect students from pollutants a new plant may emit, he said. "This is important to thousands of parents in our community."

Because the two parents spoke about an item that was not on the agenda, the Brown Act—California's open meetings law—prohibits school board members from responding or discussing the item.

Nevertheless, board member Drew Gamet said at the end of the meeting that the board should consider opposing the plant.

"I think it would be a travesty to our community if we let this power plant upgrade go through," he said. "It is not in sync with the goals, both short term and long term, of the school district, so I would hope that we would be able to look at doing something along those lines related to the power plant and us taking a formal position on it."

It was not immediately clear if the school board will place an item pertaining to the power plant on a future meeting's agenda.

sheri patterson November 18, 2012 at 11:26 PM
@Gary F. Activists (parents and grandparents) have raised awareness and we fought tooth and nail to 'finally' give Redondo Beach a legal and viable way to retire the power plant and get this on the ballot in March. We need volunteers to help educate residents with truthful information. Remember Redondo--just because some organization sends you more information about their plan, doesn't mean it is the 'right' plan or even 'truthful' information. It just means they have lots of money to spend. Every resident must please remember that. We don't have the resources nor money to burn like AES. All our volunteers have jobs and families and we are hoping more concerned citizens join the team. Resident-led group NoPowerPlant will not be successful in getting the measure passed unless every person that says they care about this issue, contacts us to get involved. You must talk with your neighbors! We will only know victory if the entire community participates in some way. We can't do this alone. Email: info@nopowerplant.com --Help us make history in Redondo Beach.
Jane McDowall November 21, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Here's the bottom line - the power plant is not needed, it can hurt people if it continues, and the city can make better money without it. Why would we choose to sustain a blighted property when the alternative is so much more viable? People - get informed! The time is now! The legal process is alive and well here thru the commitment of concerned residents. Now it's your turn to get and stay informed on the true issues. No Power Plant is the only choice for the good of the residents and our surrounding communities.
Mary Ruth Ewell November 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It is my sincere hope that parents of R.B. School District will appeal to THEIR School Board to take the only conscionable position to oppose the expansion of particulate pollution by AES. We citizens of Redondo are going to be paying increased property taxes for Proposition Q to fund IMPROVEMENTS in our public schools. Wouldn't it be ironic to be paying this cost over decades and let the Corporate Giant in our city, continue to bully us with noise and toxic pollution-as it has in other areas & countries that it has gotten rich off of ? Parents, unite! Study the Air Quality Control Board's findings to know that there is a grave/moral need to oppose AES' expansion. Mary Ewell, Mother & Grandmother
Heather Elias November 29, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Sounds like Jim Light knows alot about what he is passionate about since he has responded to almost every uneducated comment supporting the new power plant. And no one bothers to reply because they know they've been porven wrong. Can't argue with fact. Good for him. He is running circles around you bafoons.
Dan Buck December 01, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Yes the school board should take steps and get involved. Personally I'd like to see BCHD and our Vitality City leading the charge to educate the board and the residents. The Children's Health Study data is readily available here: www.arb.ca.gov/research/chs/chs.htm. A few quotes from some of the referenced articles; "Children exposed to higher levels of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, acid vapor and elemental carbon, had significantly lower lung function at age 18, an age when the lungs are nearly mature and lung function deficits are unlikely to be reversed." "Children living in communities with higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and acid vapor had lungs that both developed and grew more slowly and were less able to move air through them. This decreased lung development may have permanent adverse effects in adulthood." "Children who moved away from study communities had increased lung development if the new communities had lower particulate matter levels, and had decreased lung development if the new communities had higher particulate matter levels. " A simple conclusion, proximity is important! We're not talking about California, Southern California, or SCAQMD... we're talking about the communities of Redondo, Hermosa and Torrance. Per ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “new studies underscore the need to eliminate the threat from California’s air.” http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/newsrelease.php?id=268

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