By Jim E Winburn
Antelope Valley’s Cactus Curtain radiates with data emissions
LANCASTER – The dust up between Palmdale and Lancaster continued this week with an extra round of public information putting the proposed Palmdale Hybrid Power Plant Project into perspective. The City of Lancaster held its Powerplant Forum on Wednesday, Nov. 20, vimeo.com/80085160, to cast doubts on Palmdale’s claims that the proposed power plant will be a “clean” polluter. Attempting to dispel this idea – simply because the future facility is planning a solar component – Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist introduced a few startling statistics to point to the future plant’s supposed toxicity: producing 546 tons of pollutants a year, as well as 1.8 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent a year – the same amount that would be produced by more than 24,018 homes (though the source for this data was left unattributed). And if mind-blowing stats were not enough, Crist gave folks a filthy visual of what the plant would look like in their community – much like Victorville’s facility. “This is the beautiful plant in Victorville that is the sister plant,” Crist said, presenting select images of a rusty industrial complex. “This is what you get to look at. This is what they want to build basically on Avenue M and Sierra Highway. This is the beauty you get to look at.”
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But the other side of the Cactus Curtain was not to incur the other city’s unpleasant criticisms in silence. In fact, a Monday, Nov. 18 news release from the City of Palmdale, anticipated Lancaster’s scolding of the power plant, bearing the title: “Fact vs. Fiction, Part 6 – Palmdale Power Plant Produces Less Emissions Than Lancaster’s Big Box Centers Across from Quartz Hill High School.” Palmdale officials stated in the release that the Palmdale Power Plant is permitted up to 547 tons of emissions a year – nearly 25 tons less than the proposed shopping centers. “The Environmental Impact Reports for both the Lane Ranch Towne Center Project and the Quartz Hill Commons Project show that the total amount of emission tonnage exceeds the amount that will be generated by the Palmdale Power Plant by more than 25 tons,” stated the release, which can be viewed at cityofpalmdale.org/community. “The EIRs reveal that the two shopping centers, which are across the street from Quartz Hill High School and its athletic fields, will create a total of 571.28 tons of emissions per year.” Palmdale also addresses the intent behind its “Fact/ Fiction PR Series,” saying it created the press release series “to dispel continuous misinformation from external sources.”
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For more information on the Hybrid Power Plant Project, visit the California Energy Commission’s siting case page at energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/palmdale.