Activists across California continue to pressure Governor Jerry Brown and the state Public Utilities Commission to replace the retiring San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant with clean energy.
On the heels of an announcement that the plant may be replaced with new natural gas facilities, today the My Generation campaign released a new video and online petition urging the Public Utilities Commission and Governor Brown to reject a plan that would add new air pollution to Southern California and move California backwards on its climate goals.
"The retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is a key opportunity to demonstrate how California can meet its future energy needs without new fossil fuels plants," said Evan Gillespie, Director of the Sierra Club's My Generation campaign. "Unfortunately, Governor Brown and state regulators are rushing through a flawed plan and using San Onofre as an excuse to build new polluting gas plants in Southern California."
On November 24, clean energy supporters protested outside the dirtiest power plant in all of California - the Mountainview natural gas plant in Redlands - to keep up the pressure as well.
The proposed new gas plants would be built in Southern California as part of a plan being supported by Governor Brown. Southern California already suffers from some of the dirtiest air in the nation. In the American Lung Association's 2013 State of the Air Report, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County each received "F" grades for particulate matter and ozone, the two primary byproducts from gas peaker plants.
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 for the first time since 2008 because of increased reliance on gas plants after San Onofre closed. The state is already feeling the impacts of climate change with record droughts and increased frequency and reach of wild fires.
"We cannot claim to other states and the world that California is leading the charge against climate change while permitting huge new fossil fuel plants in our backyard. That's not leadership," said Gillespie. "California can either continue to lead on climate protection, or move backwards with new natural gas pollution."