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For Immediate Release, August 12, 2009


Matt Vespa, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 632-5309 or (415)310-1549 (cell)

Controversial Approval of Sunrise Transmission Line Appealed to California Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity and the Utility Consumers’ Action Network have filed a petition for review to the California Supreme Court challenging the Public Utilities Commission’s violations of the California Environmental Quality Act in its approval of the Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project, a 150-mile power line that would carry electricity from the Imperial Valley and Mexico to San Diego.

The Sunrise power line could result in millions of additional tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year through additional fossil-fuel-based energy production. Because the utility commission refused to require the line to actually carry renewable energy, the petition requests that the Court send the power-line approval back to the drawing board.

“The Public Utilities Commission failed to ensure that the Sunrise line will carry a single kilowatt of renewable energy,” said Center senior attorney Matt Vespa. “This violates California law and is particularly troubling because the commission sold the line to the public on the premise that it would bring clean energy to the San Diego region. Yet when pressed on this point, it changed its tune and refused to require the line to carry any clean energy at all.”

Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the state must consider mitigation measures to lessen the harm from the project, yet the utilities commission refused to include any measures to ensure that the line carries even a percentage of energy from renewable energy projects instead of dirty, fossil-fuel power.

The proposed route of the Powerlink would also cut through the Cleveland National Forest and other sensitive and fire-prone landscapes. Today’s petition challenges the commission’s refusal to properly consider routing the line along the already disturbed I-8 corridor.  

Visit the Center’s Web site for more information on our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the California Environmental Quality.

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