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Caravan from Southern California Confronts Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco on Gas Plants

Caravan from Southern California Confronts Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco on Gas Plants

SAN FRANCISCO - Southland residents, having trekked overnight by bus, took their concerns today directly to the state’s Public Utilities Commissioners on plans backed by Governor Brown to build new gas plants in their neighborhoods. They also staged a rally with solar panels and wind mills outside the Commission’s headquarters to symbolize their support for 100 % clean energy alternatives instead of more dirty gas plants.

Hearings on the proposal to replace the San Onofre nuclear plant are all taking place at the Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco and are glaringly missing outreach and input from Southern Californians – a troubling factor given the burden, both in health impacts and costs that new gas plants would have on the region.

“It's outrageous that community members from Southern California had to bus up here through the middle of the night to make our voices heard,” said Opamaggio Casciani, Riverside resident in the Inland Empire. “Holding hearings 500 miles away from the people being affected by polluting new gas plants is simply unacceptable.”

New gas plants would lock in more carbon pollution for decades to come and would undermine California’s climate targets. According to the California Air Resources Board, greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012 for the first time since 2008 because of increased reliance on gas plants after San Onofre closed. California is already feeling the impacts of climate change, with record droughts and increased intensity of wildfires.

“New natural gas plants will create even more greenhouse gases, undermining California’s climate mitigation efforts,” said Sapna Thottathil of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Meanwhile, physicians and other health care professionals are already experiencing the impacts of climate change here in California, with increases in heat-related illness and respiratory diseases appearing in our state. We have a responsibility to protect the health of our communities. Clean energy alternatives must be considered a top priority.”


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“Contrary to what the gas industry’s publicity machine says, building more gas plants will only make local air pollution in our communities worse,” said Robert Cabrales of Communities for a Better Environment. “Southern California already suffers from some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Now we’re talking about adding more pollution on top of it?”

Southland residents are calling for 100 % clean alternatives - expanding local renewable energy, energy efficiency programs, and grid-level enhancements like energy storage technologies and demand response programs.

“Instead of more polluting gas plants, we should be doing what California does best - lead the nation on clean energy,” said Strela Cervas of California Alliance for Environmental Justice. “We have all the solutions at our fingertips to move away from dirty fuels. Why is the state doubling down on dirty energy? It would be like going back to another century.”


Authorizing new gas plants as a permanent replacement solution for San Onofre in lieu of clean energy alternatives would mark a significant and potentially unrecoverable step backward in California’s efforts to combat climate change. For more on the issue of replacing the San Onofre Nuclear Station, visit:


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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