Days after Dynegy Energy Incorporated filed an application to extend its water discharge permit an additional five years at the 47-year-old South Bay Power Plant, Chula Vista deputy mayor Rudy Ramirez reached out to residents and local environmental advocates to discuss the proposed extension.
According to Ramirez' July 8 press release, "The South Bay Power Plant has served its purpose. It's time for our community members to look toward the eventual removal of the plant."
Dynegy's permit allows the collection of water from the bay to cool the plant's generators. The water, heated after cooling the plant's generators, is then discharged back into the bay. The "once-through cooling" process, as it is called, is considered harmful to marine life and coastal habitats.
In 2006, the California State Lands Commission estimated that the "once-through cooling" process at the 21 coastal power plants in California "significantly harms the environment by killing large numbers of fish and other wildlife, larvae, and eggs as they are drawn through the screens and other parts of the power-plant cooling system...and adversely affects marine, bay, and estuarine environments by raising the temperature of the receiving waters, killing and displacing wildlife and plant life."
California's State Water Board is the agency that issues water discharge permits. Board members have called for operations at South Bay Power Plant to end on December 31, 2011. The new permit application, if approved, would extend that date and delay dismantling of the plant and any future plans for commercial development of the bay front, development that local politicians believe is crucial to solve the City's current deficit.
Councilmember Ramirez will call the community outreach meeting to order at 6 p.m. on July 13 at the South Chula Vista Branch Library. Representatives from Environmental Health Coalition and officials from the Port of San Diego will join Ramirez for the discussion.