Meet the heroes of Redondo Beach who spoke at the California State Water Resources Control Board (the “Water Board”) workshop on 4/21/2020 to demand the as-scheduled closure of the toxic AES Redondo power plant (“AES Redondo“) by the end of 2020.
In short, the closure of all coastal power plants using once-through ocean water cooling was ordered ten years ago to be completed by the end of 2020. The California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) has asked for an extension of the lives of four coastal power plants beyond the Water Board-mandated end of 2020. The Water Board will make a decision before their June meeting regarding whether the AES-Redondo power plant’s life will be extended, as one of these four plants.
AES Redondo is a gas-fired, 1950s-technology power generating station, the least efficient and most polluting per kilowatt of any coastal plant still running. AES Redondo is located in the most densely-populated area of the California coast, with Hermosa Beach bordering it to the north, and all four sides of the plant bordered with residential homes. There are 21,000 people living within a mile radius of AES Redondo, more than are living within that distance of all three of the other power plants combined.
There is little opposition to extending the lives of the other three plants subject to the CPUC’s request, but the City of Redondo Beach had a deal with the owner of the plant to purchase half of the land it occupies, for conversion to public open space and restored wetlands (as directed by the California Coastal Commission). Importantly, the CPUC has not demonstrated that extension of AES Redondo’s operating life is necessary to maintain power-grid reliability; therefore we advocate that its operating life not be extended.
The Redondo Beach Mayor and City Council, Hermosa Beach City Council, the Redondo Beach School Board, Beach Cities Health District, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, State Representative Al Muratsuchi and State Senator Ben Allen, Surfrider, Heal the Bay, South Bay Parkland Conservancy, Rescue Our Waterfront and many other community organizations and leaders are unanimous in opposing extension of AES Redondo’s operating life.
Speaking to the Water Board on this issue, many of these elected officials and activists are familiar to you, as they have been fighting for Redondo Beach residents for the past 20 years. Here are links to videos of their comments to the Board:
- Mayor Bill Brand lays out the overwhelming support of local, county, and state officials to close the AES Redondo power plant down before the end of December 2020, as currently scheduled, and that the power from AES Redondo is not needed in the grid.
- Council Member Todd Loewenstein describes the power plant’s blighting impact on its neighborhood, and health hazards to school children and the 21,000 residents who live within one mile of the plant.
- Deidre West Brand board member of the South Bay Parkland Conservancy calls out the false rhetoric from the AES-sponsored shills, and highlights that the power plant can’t legally operate now without approval to pump water from the coastal wetland on the property.
- Rob Gaddis community advocate details the hundreds of tons of toxic gas and particulate exhaust from the plant’s smokestacks, and the resulting environmental and health hazards to 4,700 school children a half-mile from the smokestacks, and the surrounding neighborhood residents
- Jim Light – Redondo Beach Harbor Commissioner and Cofounder of the South Bay Parkland Conservancy details issues the plant presents to the city, that eliminating AES Redondo from the list of plants to be extended does not jeopardize power grid reliability. He describes the fear mongering about the need for the power plant to continue operation, and describes the environmental damage it causes to the ocean and the community.
With the overwhelming support of the community to shut the plant down, why haven’t Redondo Beach City Council Members Laura Emdee and John Gran spoken? Perhaps it’s due to the 2019 political campaign donations of $2,750 that Laura Emdee received from SCE, Bizfed, and Cal Real Estate PAC, who are pushing to keep it open. Or the $1,000 John Gran received from AES, and the $1,000 paid to him from unions supporting the continued operation of the plant. Maybe that’s why Council members Laura Emdee and John Gran also won’t support legislation by Al Muratsuchi (AB2071) and Ben Allen, which could close down the AES Redondo power plant by the end of December 2020.
Be sure to let them know how you feel about them putting the health of our community and our children at risk.
Additionally, please send an email today with your thoughts on this to the California State Water Resources Control Board at this email address:
Please indicate in the subject line: “Comment Letter – OTC Policy Amendment.”
Demand that the life of AES Redondo power plant not be extended beyond December 2020.
ROW is committed to sharing all of the pertinent facts to keep the residents of our City properly informed.
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