Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Light it Up, Some More

The Planning Commission hearings on permitting the Sun Power solar array out on the Carrizo Plains is slowly, slowly winding down. At the Feb. 15th meeting, Sun Power returned with a compromise design that would reduce the number of poles by 25%, reduce their average height to 50,’ increase the pole set back to 3,000 feet from Highway 58 and underground the disputed lines via the design. The new design doesn’t impact critters any worse while improving the visual impact. All of which solved some of the major concerns by the Commissioners.

Public Comment included:

Eric Greening (who needs to be nominated for Citizen of the Year . . . every year. He is always so informed on every issue and offers up such thoughtful and often critical comments.) urged the Commisisoners to clarify the Twissleman Mine issue (whether it’s an illegal illegal or not and clarify it’s status before signing off on the project, since, while the two aren’t connected, they are interdependent in many ways. (The mine would supply a closer source of aggregate and stone for the project.)

Joel Twissleman spoke on the issue of considering mitigation measure costs vis a vis benefit. In other words, don’t spend gazillions of dollars on patching a mouse hole when the barn door is wide open. i.e. spending pots of $ to reduce dust on one road when there are hundreds of dirt roads and farm plowing that regularly kicks up tons of dust, the plains is filled with power poles now so a few hundreds more aren’t going to “blight” a “pristine” pure area, and so forth.

And Andrew Christie, of the Sierra Club, read a long, long, long list of Solar Projects planned for the San Joaquin Valley, all placed on already chewed up land which would not involve ruining habitat held by endangered creatures. The message: Don’t site this solar project in the heart of a highly sensitive environment when there’s plenty of better sites available, an issue that needs to be carefully documented to appeal any findings

The rest of the afternoon was spent going over various other issues and finessing the language. Carlyn Christianson, the Chairpoerson, has her work cut out for her. There’s a whole bunch of new Commisisoners so, as an old hand at this (she served on the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Wars Planning Commission hearings, when then-Chairwoman Sarah Christie transformed the county’s plan) she has to spend some time “herding cats,” since the newbies are often unfamiliar with procedure.

And all sympathy to the newbies – ain’t easy plowing through all this technical stuff while trying to also get familiar with various ordinances. But it’s always impressive to see the care with which each Commissioner attends to the details at hand. That’s heartening since the Devil is always in those details and the earlier on in the project those devils are discovered and ironed out, the better.

So the details were revisited again; noise, agricultural issues, hours of operation during construction (6-7 a.m. – 9 pm to allow for a mid-day break in the the schedule during the brutally hot summer months), worker transportation via Sun Power shuttles (free) with (costly) parking permits suggested to reduce private 9individiual) cars, thereby reducing air pollution from a whole passel of cars arriving each morning. There’ll also be a decommissioning fund to pay for all costs to close things out at the end of the plant’s 25 year working life.

There was a flurry of concern to try to find out whether (or if) the SOC should rely on economic impact to the county (i.e. local employment) or whether employees would be brought in out of the area. According to Sun Power, they’ve contracted with the local unions and trades and their rules require that local residents get first dibs on jobs, so presumably, local workers would get a shot, which would help support an SOC finding.

The Commissison will meet again, Feb 24, at 9 a.m. to (likely) finsh the work. The project will then go to the Board of Supervisors for another hearing and more public comment.

Goodbye Mr. Smith

Steven Smith, 27, was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter for shooting girlfriend Gina Stanko, 35, in the head and hand. The sordid story that unfolded in the paper was awash with Tales of People Behaving Badly, including charges of Improper Canoodling, Stupidly Impregnating The Other Woman, Boyfriend Battering by The Other Woman, Inflammatory Yelling and Screaming and Using a Gun while Stupid.

Clearly, neither of these two lovebirds ever learned a basic lesson: If she smacks you around, that means she doesn’t like you. If you shoot her in the head, that means you don’t like her. Time to move on.

Mr. Smith got 18 years. The baby in question got a life sentence with Screaming, Slapping Mummy Dearest.

Rain! Rain! Time for Puddles


Mike Green said...

Just thought you Ososians would get a kick out of this:

Sewertoons said...

Thanks Mike Green! Horrifying!

Watch that 10% who are not approving this LID - I'm waiting for the words, "There is no proof that we are polluting; the nutrient loads must be from cows or the underground, buried forests, as we sit on top of magic sand."

30 years from now when this finally gets built let's see what the cost will be - if any of us are still alive, that is.

Churadogs said...

$4,300 per house for a STEP system, some $40++ per month. And that's for a retrofit system, too? Interesting. No mention of a RWQCB requiring they replace all their tanks. Wonder if that'll mysteriously show up as a requirement later, after MWH shows up to "advise" the new district?

Sewertoons said...

“The information presented to the neighborhood by the Greens, including the costs, is based on very preliminary assumptions and subject to verification in step two."

I wonder where the Greens got their information?

Mike Green said...

HA, thought you would enjoy that, funny thing is that Devil's Lake is a pretty good analogy of the "Ponds of Avalon"
It's located smack-dab in the middle of Lincoln City, Or. Has parks and tot lots, boats for rent and everything.
Every summer the algae bloom makes it poisonous, especially to dogs.
Thankfully, so far, there is no equivalent to the RWQCB in Oregon, so the property owners have a better chance of succeeding here.

Sewertoons said...

Thanks Mike Green - speaking for myself I do enjoy seeing how other towns do stuff like this. I've only lived in LA and the sewer was already there wherever I lived.

Do you mean succeeding as in they know that they need to do this, so WILL do it without a "stick" forcing them? I wish them success. I suspect there will be more chapters to this story. Keep us posted if you like - it's pretty interesting!

(Are you related to the Devils Lake Greens?)

Mike Green said...

Seems that the overriding government agency up here is just pleased as punch that the property owners themselves are trying to get something done, and if it's a piecemeal attempt that doesn't include everyone in the watershed then they ARE STILL SUPPORTIVE.
Completely unlike the Ghod like imposition that Los Osos has had to suffer with the RWQCB.
Any progress is good progress.
Oregon has a lot going for it environmental wise, of course it's got problems with funding government, No sales tax has heaped the burden onto working people and newer family's but in retrospect to that they are the ones that will reap the most benefits in the future.
Related to the Greens in Licoln City?
Sure, probably just as much as I'm related to you.
One huge difference I've noticed here, nobody stops working because of rain, and nobody uses umbrellas.

Sewertoons said...

Ha-ha! So true! People get so weirded out by the rain - but then, we barely know what that is around here half the time…

Are these rich people deciding that they need to clean up the water around the lake where they live? Or just responsible citizens concerned about cleaning up their waste? Does anyone drink out of the lake?

I'm waiting to hear from that 10% who will claim that there is no proof that they are polluting. Then we'll see what happens.