San Diego, Imperial Counties Argue Over Sunrise Powerlink

Michael Peevey is president of the Public Utilities Commission for the state of California. He and three other commissioners are in San Diego for the last two public hearings on the Sunrise Powerlink.

"It's part of our duty and our responsibility and our obligation to listen and to learn, and that's why we are here," said Peevey.

Right off the bat, it was a battle between San Diego County and Imperial County.

"I would beg the commission to seek a formal opinion from CAL FIRE before it makes a final determination on this line," said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs.

Showing the commission a map of the unburned parts of San Diego County, Jacobs told the panel that downed power lines from high winds threaten lives.

"Our board has taken formal action to support the Sunrise Powerlink, and strongly encourages the CPUC approve the project this summer," said Imperial County Supervisor Gary Wyatt.

Wyatt said his county welcomes a way to transport green energy such as geothermal and wind power.

Both sides agreed on the use of alternative energy, but disagreed on how and where it should be generated and moved.

"(It should be moved) closer to the areas that use the power and are environmentally responsible," said Powerlink opponent Micah Mitrosky.

Powerlink supporter Andrew Poat said, "San Diego Gas & Electric will be signing contracts for energy that's generated in the next county over and this transmission line will bring that energy to San Diego."

Most of the crowd of 600-plus was glad to speak face-to-face with the decision makers.

The CPUC now has to take what they heard back to San Francisco and analyze all of the pros and cons before making a final decision.

The CPUC's decision is expected by summer's end.

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