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Parents Ask RBUSD to Oppose Power Plant

Anti-power plant activist and parent Dawn Esser asks the Redondo Beach Board of Education to write a letter to the California Energy Commission opposing the plan to repower AES Redondo Beach.

Two Redondo Beach parents asked the Redondo Beach Board of Education at its Tuesday meeting to consider passing a resolution to oppose the planned repowering—or rebuilding—of the AES Redondo Beach power plant on North Harbor Drive.

"Hazardous air pollution from this new plant will increase dramatically and will negatively affect the health of students," said Dawn Esser, an anti-power plant activist.

AES Redondo Beach has been at the center of a controversy over the past year, ever since AES Southland submitted a preliminary proposal to the state water board as to how it would comply with a new ban on once-through cooling.

The aging power plant uses once-through cooling, during which ocean water is used to cool the superheated steam used to spin the turbines that generate electricity, so it must be retired, rebuilt or obtain a special exemption to continue operating by 2020.

AES has said that it will rebuild the plant; however, opponents of the power plant have placed a measure on the March ballot called the Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative, which would rezone the AES property for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional uses and at least 60 percent parkland. Power generation would not be allowed on the property after 2020 if the measure passes.

In addition to placing the measure on the ballot, opponents of the power plant have also asked the Redondo Beach City Council and various community groups and institutions to take a stand against the plant. At Tuesday's school board meeting, Esser asked board members to pass a resolution and write to the California Energy Commission to oppose AES' plans to build a new power plant on the site.

The California Energy Commission will ultimately decide whether to grant AES A permit to rebuild the plant.

"The project is in direct conflict with the Vitality City, Blue Zones Project that this board supports," she said.

Scott Kaplan, another parent, concurred. "I've personally talked with many parents that are scared about our kids' health … Parents need, they want, and they respectfully demand reassurance" that the board will protect students from pollutants a new plant may emit, he said. "This is important to thousands of parents in our community."

Because the two parents spoke about an item that was not on the agenda, the Brown Act—California's open meetings law—prohibits school board members from responding or discussing the item.

Nevertheless, board member Drew Gamet said at the end of the meeting that the board should consider opposing the plant.

"I think it would be a travesty to our community if we let this power plant upgrade go through," he said. "It is not in sync with the goals, both short term and long term, of the school district, so I would hope that we would be able to look at doing something along those lines related to the power plant and us taking a formal position on it."

It was not immediately clear if the school board will place an item pertaining to the power plant on a future meeting's agenda.

Jim Light November 15, 2012 at 01:55 AM
DR - You are taking LA wide statistics. According to the EPA, the engine of the average 2005 family car produces 0.14 pounds of particulate pollution per year which is an average of 12,000 miles per car. The power plant running at about 5% produces 3.3 tons per year. If you assume the average car on PCH drives about 4 miles per day in the proximity of the power plant, it would take 194,117 cars to produce the same pollution as the power plant. According to the Redondo Beach Traffic Element, PCH in thi area carries 40,000 cars per day. So we would need 5 x as many cars per day, every day to produce the same impact in the vicinity of the power plant. We can't stop PCH much less cut out nearly 200,000 car trips in our area. So your traffic analogy is meaningless. We can stop the power plant, we won't stop traffic. Your question about location is yet another diversion. We get very little of our power from this plant today. Three more power plants are coming online in our part of the grid next year that will add 1,900 MW of new power generation. We don't need it. We shoudlnot allow it to mar our town. We are in 2012 not 1968. It is time to move on.
Jim Light November 15, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Jerry - We can stop the power plant, we con't stop traffic. And AES is one of our top two polluters. The new plant will run more, so it will produce more pollution than we have today. We are trying to revitalize our harbor. It is ludicrous to invest in the harbor and let a new polluting, blighting power plant be built right across the street. We don't need the plant. It blights our harbor. It hurts city revenues, business revenues, and property values. It is our biggest single source of air pollution. The decision is a no-brainer.
L. Campeggi November 15, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Mr. Gordon, it's sad that you don't believe there could possibly be independent, intelligent people in Redondo Beach forming their own opinions based on facts from state agencies - not just AES. No, we must be under the nefarious spells of the "Evil Bill Brand" and "Demonic Jim Light" to not want a new power plant disfiguring and polluting our waterfront for another 50 years. My goodness, that dastardly duo, Brand and Light, must be using their devious mind control powers to transform thousands of Redondo residents into power plant-hating zombies doing their fiendish bidding. There can be no other explanation. In reality, the NoPowerPlant, citizen-led initiative will be a March 2013 Ballot Measure, because 7,468 registered Redondo Beach voters signed the initiative in 5 1/2 weeks. No telling how many more thousands would have done so with more time. And the majority of those who signed the initiative and want to vote on the matter aren't buying the propaganda from the Kool-Aid-dispensing, campaign-donating, citizen-suing, tax-dodging, multi-billion dollar corporate bully based in Arlington, Virginia, masquerading as our "friends." No, there are certainly no parrots in the NoPowerPlant group. In fact, these are courageous neighbors and citizens wanting to leave a healthy, positive, productive and sustainable legacy for the future. Go to www.nopowerplant.com to help with the NoPowerPlant campaign. And www.Facebook.com/nopowerplant for daily info.
JUDY ELLIS November 15, 2012 at 05:48 AM
As a grandmother with grandchildren living and going to school downwind of the power plant, I am very concerned about an increase of dangerous air pollution. I appreciate the effort of the school board in demonstrating that the health of our children come first .
Fred Reardon November 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM
I hope the School Boards of Redondo Beach see through the proposed new AES Power Plant cheerleaders' toxic smokescreen. There is not enough of a buffer between the proposed AES toxic stacks and therefore not enough area for the toxins to disapate before entering our (and our children's) lungs. No economic or grid supplement argument can justify the risk to our communities health and safety. AES does not own the air we breathe. The AES cohorts are hoping the School Board doesn't take a stand against a new power plant. The new power plant cheerleaders and AES make these pathetic arguments against the zoning change vote hoping that the agencies, deciding the new power plant's fate, will not have a strong message from the people of Redondo Beach opposing it. Ask anyone who lives in the shadow of the AES power plant, who isn't on AES's bar tab, if they are concerned about the overwhelming evidence related to the increased odds of getting cancer, lung disease, asthma, heart disease, pregnancy complications, etc. when living in close proximity to a power plant toxic plume.
Fred Reardon November 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM
New plant supporters are hoping that, because the toxins released from smoke stacks are invisible, people will think it's ok for AES to pollute the air we breathe. We have a legal right to oppose any new pollution that can harm our families. Power Plant supporters argument, related to talking and working with AES is ridiculous, deceiving, and will result in tons and tons of toxins raining down on our families. What has our Mayor and city council done to help us avoid this toxic situation? They have made no attempt to sit down with state or federal officials in an attempt to avoid a new plant? Have they tried to work with AES to develop a plan that does not involve polluting our lungs for the next 50 plus years? No, on the contrary, they and other AES supporters have mislead, used stall tactics and threats to derail any attempts people in opposition to a power plant have proposed. Simply put, our local government is willing to dismiss the studies, the pollution, the rights of those that are not being represented, a sense of urgency, and the threat to our health and safety for what?
Fred Reardon November 15, 2012 at 10:40 AM
There is only one conclusion to draw from Power Plant supporter's arguments, they are doing everything they can to ensure we get more nasty polluting smoke stacks stuck in our face. RB School Board, please take a stand and help support a zoning change that will send a strong message to the community and those agencies charged with approving a new power plant that we do not want to expose our community to this toxic polluting threat.
Mike2 November 15, 2012 at 08:25 PM
There is not one known case of negative health effects attributed to the power plant. Not ONE! Yet you keep crying "Wolf!" Risk / Reward. What are the risks / rewards of the power plant? Seeing that there has not been ONE case of documented health problems from the power plant, and it used to be a whole lot dirtier, and seeing that by removing the power plant we are risking reliable energy in the future, I sincerely believe the reward of 1% cleaner air is not worth the risk someday not having the energy we need. If you are thinking of voting for the initiative, I challenge you to live without electricity for 48 hours. Go unplug your refrigerator(don't put all your food in an ice chest, no electricity to make ice) , don't turn on any lights, don't fill up your car with gas, don't go to the grocery store (cash registers wont work), don't drive, signals wont work. No TV, computer, cell phone, tablet, etc. And it's just not you, it's everyone else. Banks, stores, government, everything will simply stop That's one hell of a risk based on sketchy statistics from some fringe group. BTW, yes they got the signatures to place the initiative on the ballot but what did they say to get the signatures? Of the 7,000+ people who signed the petition how come they only had two dozen adults (voters) to scream and hold signs at their most recent, weak, protest.
C Snyder November 15, 2012 at 08:35 PM
As a mom and fellow resident I have serious concerns about my children being in school and playing outside our home downwind of the plant. When we purchased our home the plant was operating at 5% if that, now AES wants to rebuild and operate toward 100%. I truly hope the school board will promise to put our children’s health first. This goes against our commitment to Vitality City and the Walking School Bus program...
Jim Light November 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Mike2 - The death certificate will not say "death by AES". It will say "heart attack", "end stage COPD", "severe asthma attack"... If you listened to the AQMD rep testimony you heard 3000 to 5000 people per year die in the LA Basin due to particulate pollution, And that's just deaths... not sick days, or hospital and doctor visits. There is no "safe" level of particulate pollution. Stopping the power plant reduces particulate pollution and prevents an increase. Since we don't need the power, is the impact to children worth it? Not to me. When I first opposed the power plant, it was for fiscal and environmental reasons. However, as several in the NoPowerPlant.com group showed me the reports on the health impacts of particulate pollution, I became just as concerned about those health impacts. Several of those reports are on this page: http://aesredondomustgo.blog.com/aes-related-reports/ Yes, I've lived without power for 48 hours. But so what? What happens when AES is offline (like it is most of the time)? Do our lights go out? Does the refrigerator stop running? Do the traffic signals stop working? Obviously, the answer is "no". That's because we get our power from the grid and the grid is powered over 99% from sources other than AES Redondo. By next fall, three new power plants will add another 1,900 MW of power to our part of the grid. We don't need power from AES Redondo, time to retire it. Permanently.
L. Campeggi November 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Mike2, we'll get our electricity from the same place we've been getting it for decades, and that's not from AES-Redondo. They have one contract with J.P. Morgan that expires in 2018. 3 new power plants are coming online in our local reliability area next year. AES-Redondo is NOT deemed critical to the California electrical grid. It's not necessary NOW, and won't be for as far into the future as CAISO projects. Pollution from a new power plant will increase 5x at a minimum, and that's using AES' own data; data from their recent plan submission for their new Huntington Beach plant, scaled to size for what they want to build in Redondo. the 5x increase is if they operate at 26% capacity, but they're asking to be permitted to run at up to 76% capacity, or a pollution increase of 17x. Listen for yourself, to AES-Redondo Project Manager, Jennifer Didlo: http://southbaybyjackie.com/august-16-2012-aes-representative/. Joe Terry asked her an initial interview question about pollution, that Didlo dodged for 20 minutes, until finally admitting that pollution from their proposed new power plant would double. Still the wrong figure, but an admission, nontheless, that pollution will INCREASE. Straight from AES' mouth. And really, are you suggesting that the Redondo medical community begin a health study now, to conduct for the next 50 years, specifically to track residents who become ill and die from pollution from a power plant? Wow. That's not a good wow, by the way.
Diane Naletich November 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM
There are many excellent posts here. I would highly recommend that your feelings/thoughts are presented to the RBUSD Board so they know how other families feel. We can not assume they are reading the Comments Section here on The Patch. It is quite easy to present to the Board. The school district will assist you or one of the members of the No Power Plant Group will help to guide you.
Jim Light November 15, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Mike2 - We mustered those folks on short notice after we discovered the AES meeting was taking place. The AES event was not publicly advertised. Chamberites were making invites. We counted over forty folks at the peak of the protest. Not sure when you counted or what your source is. That's a darn good turn out on a beautiful weekend right at lunch time on short notice. And we did not "scream" at anyone. There were always one to two officers there who never expressed any concern with our conduct. But there were several coming to and leaving the power plant who were giving us the Number 1 sign with that special finger. If anyone was disrespectful, it was the AES invitees.
Cindy Elias November 16, 2012 at 12:50 AM
The Redondo Beach Unified School District has become so health conscious over the past 15 years with its healthier lunch choices, closing school snack bars containing unhealthy food choices, implementing morning exercises in all the elementary schools, starting a before school running program for students, allowing Beach Cities to teach nutrition and gardening lessons to the students, etc. Taking a strong stand against the rebuilding of the AES Power Plant is in alignment with all of the other health conscious decisions the district has made. The district works hand in hand with Beach Cities Health District for the health of our students and Beach Cities has already shown support against the rebuilding of the plant. My hope is that the board members take this very seriously and make a decision that puts our students first.
JUDY ELLIS November 16, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I wonder if the health-conscious Redondo Beach Board of Education is just intimidated by AES and their power to sue them, as they have done to Redondo Beach residents before. Can AES' unlimited money and high-priced lawyers cause fear in all the residents and businesses and control the medical boards?? It's time to see through the propaganda!! They say the new plant will be cleaner....cleaner than what, please ask.
Jane November 16, 2012 at 02:51 PM
How voters "feel" is not relevant. I "feel" like rezoning all of North Redondo to parkland from it's current ghetto 5-on-2s. However, that's just a TAKING legally and it's wrong.
L. Campeggi November 16, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Jane, what's irrelevant is a person who posts constantly on Patch, always in a nasty fashion, who doesn't have the courage to reveal his/her real name. Calling your own city "ghetto" underscores that point. That you continue to incorrectly label any and all rezoning as a TAKING, also highlights your inability to comprehend land use and zoning laws, and is likely the reason why you're ashamed to let anyone know who you are. Of one thing we can all be certain, those who post on Patch to bash others, using fictitious names, aren't to be trusted or believed.
sheri patterson November 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
For those residents wanting the truth vs AES propaganda, visit the residents YouTube channel to view the Legalities of the Initiative meeting- a public education meeting held last week. You can click on or copy/paste the link below. The myth about the initiative being a "taking" or any violation of property right is absurd. With a conditional use permit on the existing infrastructure, AES has no permit to rebuild and no "right" to rebuild a power plant that will increase its emissions. None! They do have a right to engage in an activity on their land that the city council or voters approve of. http://www.youtube.com/user/nopowerplantrb?feature=results_main And for those seeking the truth on this issue--- listen to the radio show that is quoted above. LISTEN to the words of Jennifer Didlo as she finally squirms on air ADMITTING that particulate pollution will DOUBLE. Particulate pollution is the most deadly form of air pollution. Google USC Children's Health Study to see the sort of damage this does to the developing lungs of children. Those that continue to deny the health risk AES emissions will have on our community are the same type of folks that believe that smoking cigarettes is not addictive.
Mike Walker November 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Fact: Private propery rights include, private property responsibilities. Fact: Natural Gas is not clean. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/EF35BD26A80D6CE3852579600065C94E Fact: Particulates are very dangerous http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/naaqsfin/pmhealth.html Fact: The Greed Energy industry shapes California Energy policy. California is on the apex of community owned roof top solar distributed generation on the vergeof an avalance into the energy markets. Greed Energy is conducting a covert war to stop it and create dependency upon centralized fossil fuel power generation and transmission infrastructure. http://www.energy.ca.gov/2012_energypolicy/documents/index.html#11072012 Fact: The energy industry is exploding with new technologies that make polluting projects that endanger the public health and interest unnecesary. http://www.emergealliance.org/ Fact: All one has to do is observe the Greed Energy industry to realize their paradigm is to, "privatize the profits and socialize costs, economic,environmentally and otherwise". Fact: It is a Civic Leader's and School Board's responsibility to protect the interest of those they have been entrusted to look after.
Jim Light November 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Jane - your analogy is apples and oranges to the initative zoning. We are not rezoning the entire AES property to park as you seem to repeatedly, conveniently forget. There is 430,000 sq ft of commercial development allowed at the same density as the harbor zoning. Why you inaccuratly keep squawking "taking" in every post when you ignore other city council actions that were very similar to the iniatiative zoning is beyond logic. It would seem it is you who are acting out based on "feelings" since you didn't have the same reaction to the Council's zoning changes and project denials.
Mike Walker November 16, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Mike2 you are not paying attention to the explosion of clean renewable technologies, energy efficicency and demand response solutions to our energy needs. The free market is reponding and doing it well, the problem is the crony relationship between the Energy Agencies and Dinosaur Greed Energy. Watch what happens to Austin TX with their new market based PBI scheme, Germany, Spain and much of Asia can move forward, to include storage technologies, So why would we want such an obsolete dinosaur to continue spoiling the area? Austin has a 600% increase in commercial building solar generation, because they use private property rights and free market principles, http://www.austinenergy.com/About%20Us/Newsroom/Press%20Releases/2012/councilApprovesSolarProjects.html "Energy shortage" LOL, only in Greed Energy dreams. Curtail the Energy Agencies dinosaur protection rackets, let people have private property rights and free markets, then watch how fast Californians turn their roof tops into revenue generators.
Diane Naletich November 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Thanks for sharing some excellent information here. I am learning quite a bit.
Fred Reardon November 17, 2012 at 11:39 AM
The Varsity Squad just arrived...Mike Walker! Nice summary of this pathetic new proposed power plant situation. Yes, it's insane. In other communities, people are doing everything they can to clean up the environment, the air, and create a smart, clean, renewable energy supplemented grid. Redondo Beach is a perfect example of city held captive by a huge polluting greedy company and lazy local government and community officials. The only people doing the heavy lifting are volunteers? We are supposed to be civil in our discourse related to this matter? It would be easier, to be less critical, if some individuals, on the payroll, would actually do something.
Fred Reardon November 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM
This unnecessary, unwanted, polluting fossil fuel based power generator is trying to maintain its death grip on the fat contracts. AES is not needed, pollutes, and detracts from a sustainable energy based future for California. Everytime one of these (not identified as a necessary "must run" plant) AES type dinosaurs gets built, clean, sustainable renewable energy loses. In this case, a Virginia company profits, we lose California based renewable energy related jobs and, as an extra bonus, get to breathe in nasty toxic emissions. Where is the Redondo Beach Green Task Force? WAKE UP! It's really frustrating to work hard all week only to come home and plead with local government to do the right thing. When is our local government and groups in our community, that get paid to protect our health and safety, going to get off their rear ends, drive to Sacramento and other cities where the entities that are charged with making a decision on this plant are located? When are they going to start doing some of the heavy lifting? To my knowledge, with the exception of Bill Brand, the only trip our government officials have made is to meet with AES in Virginia? I would not classify that as an attempt to stop this proposed plant. Most communities would have paid and influential community leaders that travel to meet with decision makers and seek results. Please, start now and do something. The clock is ticking.
Gary Freeman November 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM
My wife and I have lived in Redondo Beach since 1971. Redondo Beach is a beautiful place to live and raise a family despite the noise and air pollution from the AES power plant. When I hear the AES plant blast off, I can stand on my front porch and see the plume of smoke rise into the air. Invariably, due to an on shore breeze, I can observe that plume of smoke heading directly for Beryl Heights Elementry School where my grand kids attend. I never thought I would see the day when that power plant would be shut down. Now I think that thanks to community activist I just might see that day. Thanks guys.
sheri patterson November 18, 2012 at 11:26 PM
@Gary F. Activists (parents and grandparents) have raised awareness and we fought tooth and nail to 'finally' give Redondo Beach a legal and viable way to retire the power plant and get this on the ballot in March. We need volunteers to help educate residents with truthful information. Remember Redondo--just because some organization sends you more information about their plan, doesn't mean it is the 'right' plan or even 'truthful' information. It just means they have lots of money to spend. Every resident must please remember that. We don't have the resources nor money to burn like AES. All our volunteers have jobs and families and we are hoping more concerned citizens join the team. Resident-led group NoPowerPlant will not be successful in getting the measure passed unless every person that says they care about this issue, contacts us to get involved. You must talk with your neighbors! We will only know victory if the entire community participates in some way. We can't do this alone. Email: info@nopowerplant.com --Help us make history in Redondo Beach.
Jane McDowall November 21, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Here's the bottom line - the power plant is not needed, it can hurt people if it continues, and the city can make better money without it. Why would we choose to sustain a blighted property when the alternative is so much more viable? People - get informed! The time is now! The legal process is alive and well here thru the commitment of concerned residents. Now it's your turn to get and stay informed on the true issues. No Power Plant is the only choice for the good of the residents and our surrounding communities.
Mary Ruth Ewell November 26, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It is my sincere hope that parents of R.B. School District will appeal to THEIR School Board to take the only conscionable position to oppose the expansion of particulate pollution by AES. We citizens of Redondo are going to be paying increased property taxes for Proposition Q to fund IMPROVEMENTS in our public schools. Wouldn't it be ironic to be paying this cost over decades and let the Corporate Giant in our city, continue to bully us with noise and toxic pollution-as it has in other areas & countries that it has gotten rich off of ? Parents, unite! Study the Air Quality Control Board's findings to know that there is a grave/moral need to oppose AES' expansion. Mary Ewell, Mother & Grandmother
Heather Elias November 29, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Sounds like Jim Light knows alot about what he is passionate about since he has responded to almost every uneducated comment supporting the new power plant. And no one bothers to reply because they know they've been porven wrong. Can't argue with fact. Good for him. He is running circles around you bafoons.
Dan Buck December 01, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Yes the school board should take steps and get involved. Personally I'd like to see BCHD and our Vitality City leading the charge to educate the board and the residents. The Children's Health Study data is readily available here: www.arb.ca.gov/research/chs/chs.htm. A few quotes from some of the referenced articles; "Children exposed to higher levels of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, acid vapor and elemental carbon, had significantly lower lung function at age 18, an age when the lungs are nearly mature and lung function deficits are unlikely to be reversed." "Children living in communities with higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and acid vapor had lungs that both developed and grew more slowly and were less able to move air through them. This decreased lung development may have permanent adverse effects in adulthood." "Children who moved away from study communities had increased lung development if the new communities had lower particulate matter levels, and had decreased lung development if the new communities had higher particulate matter levels. " A simple conclusion, proximity is important! We're not talking about California, Southern California, or SCAQMD... we're talking about the communities of Redondo, Hermosa and Torrance. Per ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “new studies underscore the need to eliminate the threat from California’s air.” http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/newsrelease.php?id=268

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