Study: South Bay Power Plant Is Making People Sick

Coalition: Plans To Replace Plant Could Make Matters Worse

A new study hoists a red flag about a South Bay power plant, 10News reported.

The study by the Environmental Health Coalition says Duke Power Plant in Chula Vista is making people sick.

The group claims plans in the works to replace the plant could make matters worse.

Josephine Dove said she wakes up to little black particles every morning.

She said the particles pile on her window sills, and they are coming from the Duke Power Plant -- just upwind from her home.

"I'm concerned about the environment, but I also think it makes people ill -- I really do," said Dove.

The coalition says children living downwind are getting sick -- 20 percent more of them are hospitalized with asthma than other children in the county.

"We do know the current air quality exceeds federal clean air standards. (It) causes a lot of damage when they're in there," said Laura Hunter, with the Environmental Health Coalition.

Hunter said a new plant would produce even more pollution.

"It's our position the impacts would be too significant. We need to go back to the drawing board and look at alternatives that impact people less and develop a more sustainable energy future," said Hunter.

Hunter also claims Duke Energy and their landlord, the Port of San Diego, are negotiating behind closed doors, shutting the public out of the planning process.

It's a claim backed by port commission agendas, dating back to March of last year.

Michael Meacham oversees environmental services for the city of Chula Vista.

He said the planning process has been open, though he would prefer no power plant on the bay.

"Removing the old plant ASAP and moving to cleaner energy as rapidly and responsibly for the environment and for the rate payers," said Meacham.

Meantime, Dove brushes off her sills and keeps her windows closed, hoping one day the Duke Energy Power Plant will be shut down.

"I just want it taken away. We don't need it that close to civilization here," said Dove.

The Air Quality Impacts Report is available at www.EnvironmentalHealth.org.

Duke Energy said the Environmental Health Coalition is wrong, and that it miscalculates current and projected pollution levels.

The plant said it is not to blame for children's athsma.

It also said only lease negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors, as customary, and Duke's proposal for a new power plant will be released to the public when it is finished and submitted to the state at the end of June.

Duke released to 10News its emissions and asthma reports.

To read the 2004 Air Toxic "Hot Spots" Report, click here.

To read the 2005 Air Toxic "Hot Spots" Report, click here.

To read the 2005 Asthma Report Card, click here.

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