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Blog: Does Particulate Matter, Matter?

How much do we really know about pollution from the proposed AES plant?

The Jim Light/Bill Brand/Measure A Ticket in next month’s election uses a number of methods to convince voters to change zoning of the AES plant. One of their methods is the use of particulate estimates from the AES repowering application.

If the Light/Brand/A Ticket prevails, the city’s zoning will allow a park and limited commercial development on the AES property. Bill Brand has suggested 800 hotel rooms on the property could help fund his park.

Measure A is not a plan to build 800 hotel rooms. Neither were the zoning changes the Redondo Beach city council voted on in 2002 a plan to build 3,000 condos. But the people behind the Light/Brand/A Ticket want you to believe the city was on the brink of building 3,000 condos, and they saved us from it. Back then, they objected to the remote possibility zoning changes would translate into a project to build condos—nothing more.

Let’s say someone, like me, felt the same way about Measure A for the same reasons, it will allow for the remote possibility of 800 new hotel rooms in the city. And let’s say while I’m trying to convince you this is a bad idea, I use air pollution as one of the reasons I think you should support an initiative I’ll call Measure Munns.

I would tell you something like this. Bill Brand’s estimate of 80 percent occupancy would translate to 640 rooms rented every day. Each one of those rooms would require one car or van trip to check in and one to check out. That’s 1,280 car trips per day.

Then let’s assume the park attracts 200 visits per day. That’s one car trip in and one car trip out, 400 car trips for the park per day.

I’d also estimate the other allowed commercial uses such as a Birkenstock store, would need to get 500 visits per day or 1000 car trips. That turns out to be 2680 car trips per day, 365 days per year or 978,200 new car trips into and out of the city generated by Measure A.

We all know automobiles account for a vast majority of the air pollution we breathe. So on the basis of the facts above, I want you to vote for Measure Munns, which will change zoning to include absolutely no human use of the 50-acre AES property, because that’s really the only way to make it pollution free.

I know I’m right and everyone who opposes Measure Munns is wrong. But everyone other than a few of my closest friends might have a few questions.

You may want to know how much of that pollution is going to get into your lungs and the lungs of your family. You might want to see a model of how that pollution is actually distributed by things like prevailing winds and thermal air currents. You might also want to know how that increased pollution compares to pollution produced by alternative uses of that property.

The two biggest dots you might want me to connect for you are between the existence of an irrefutable increase in pollution and the effect on your health and the health of your family. I want you to agree with me and vote for Measure Munns but if I suggest everyone in the city will have emphysema in 5 years or your children will need to wear gas masks when they go to the beach, I’ll end up with no credibility and I’ll deserve no support.

So you, as a citizen, have a right to expect me to answer all those questions before you believe in Measure Munns enough to vote for it. Don’t you have the same right to get the same data from the Light/Brand/A Ticket before voting for Measure A?

The Light/Brand/A Ticket has invested considerable time and money to get your vote. What they haven’t invested in, is any kind of study that would answer all those questions about Measure A. If the Light/Brand/A Ticket is going to ask for your vote, don’t they owe you the most basic data on the effects of the pollution they’ve attempted to use to frighten you?

All I’ve seen so far is the particulate numbers provided by the AES application and statements by a couple doctors saying particulate matter is bad for our health. I think I can get the same doctors to say the same things about Measure Munns. If not, I’ll get some others.

Make no mistake, everything I mention above that you wouldn’t know about Measure Munns and that you don’t know about Measure A can be measured or fairly accurately estimated. Why hasn’t the Light/Brand/A Ticket spent some of its money providing you with those measurements and estimates?

Because while the Light/Brand/A Ticket hopes Measure A will be about pollution for you, it isn’t about pollution for them. If AES announced tomorrow that the new power plant would produce nothing but pure oxygen and Perrier, the Light/Brand/A Ticket wouldn’t skip a beat. They’d find a whole new set of reasons why you should let them plan our city’s future. A NO vote on Measure A is a YES vote for Redondo Beach.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alexander Starr February 23, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Munns - The link below shows the study the City of Chula Vista (a city that won their fight against a new powerplant and Feb. 3 demolished the plant!) commissioned to show the health impacts of a power plant on their waterfront. http://aesredondomustgo.blog.com/files/2011/05/AQImpacts2PowerPlants.pdf Highlight: "The maximum cancer risk estimated for the 650 MW plant was 2.98 cancer cases per million and for the 65 MW plant was 1.14 cancer cases per million. For both plants,polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contributed most to the cancer risk. The location of the maximum cancer risk impacts was at the nearest residence located 350 meters from the site to the east. A number of federal, state, and local regulations identify cancer risks above 1 in a million to be significant." Munns- is this study enough for you? You keep writing you need studies to prove that pollution from a powerplant is bad for our health. Well, here it is!
mark schoennagel February 23, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Very interesting read Alexander, thank you for posting. I noticed it was well referenced with no wikipedia references which apparently is bad. Included as a reference was this link from the United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/naaqsfin/pmhealth.html According to the EPA our residents that are most affected by the pollution from the AES plant will be children and the elderly. I guess you people who actually want a power plant don't see that as the "taking" ones health do you? Remember the new plant will put 15 times more pollution in our air on top of it. Ya know, I see the word "Protection" in Environmental Protection Agency. I think we all know what the EPA "protects" us from, definitely one of the good-guy government agencies. I also notice the tag line for No Way on A is "Protect Redondo Beach." Of course AES paid for the the slogan and signs- its printed proudly on them right under Protect Redondo. Now I've asked a few times but no one wants to answer, what exactly is AES protecting us from? They certainly are not protecting our children and seniors. Anyone from AES care to enlighten us? There are several paid AES people commenting here so maybe one of you??
Alexander Starr February 23, 2013 at 09:26 AM
What the No on A "Protect Redondo Beach" slogan really means: "Protect AES Redondo Beach"!
Fred Reardon February 24, 2013 at 08:11 PM
These Judas Iscariot like characters (paid AES spokesmen) know AES would not come to the table with any solution that did not involve polluting our families lungs with additional particulate matter. Everything about this company is poisonous including the way they mislead our community. Vote Yes on Measure A.
Tim Sole February 25, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Not sure about Judas, I am sure I just paid for the second tire on my SUV, that has been ice picked since I stood up against Measure A. The first one two weeks ago, I wrote off as stupid kids doing stupid things, two in as many weeks, not so much. Upside, the Firestone store in Redondo Beach got to sell me two more tires, I also them rotated, adding evening a few more dollars to the local economy, the downside, I DON'T RUN OR HIDE.........

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