Monday, July 2, 2012
"This is a beautiful place. Why would you want to ruin it by putting up a power plant?"
San Diego's "Little Yosemite," a bio-gem formally known as Mission Trails Regional Park, has recently come under siege by Sempra who awarded a contract to Cogentrix out of North Carolina to construct a power plant right alongside the park which features habitats and animals that can be found nowhere else on Earth.
In a "David versus Goliath" moment, Barbara, a brave and poised ten-year-old, stands up before San Diego's Planning Commissioners on June 28, 2012, to speak out against the Quail Brush Power Plant. According to specifications from Cogentrix, this monstrosity would feature eleven 100-foot smokestacks and belch out 205 tons of toxic particulates a year. Yes, you got that right, 205 TONS. A YEAR. The beauty of Mission Trails would of course forever be marred, and the health of community members would forever be compromised.
The Planning Commission meeting was held to approve or oppose initiation to rezone designated Open Space land to "Heavy Industrial." Opponents of the power plant packed the room. Commissioners voted 3-2 against initiating the rezone. A majority vote of four was needed and therefore the session is being "trailed" to July 19, 2012.
Ironically, a nay vote was made by a Commissioner whose last name is Smiley. Before voting, he commented that he saw nothing pristine or scenic about the proposed area. Those of us who frequent the park beg to differ and respectfully suggest that he visit Mission Trails before making another uninformed vote the next time. In particular, he is advised to sit down on a bench on Father Juniperra Serra Road that faces a vista including historic Mission Dam, the grasslands where the Kumeyaay dwelled, and if we don't stop Cogentrix and Sempra, you will also be able to see eleven 100-foot middle fingers
His comment really caused me to reflect on how many people there are who have denied themselves the amazing fruits of hiking, biking, and enjoying our last remaining wilderness areas. Places where people go to commune with Nature (and "God") are threatened by developers who think of these spiritual places as just another location to plunk down a power plant.
I don't have any children, but I love them and truly believe that we owe them a legacy of places where they can play and enjoy the bounty of the Earth. Where they can see horny toads and red-shouldered hawks. Where they can learn about medicinal plants and listen to the sounds of birds and cicadas. I stand with Barbara to protect a remarkably beautiful place known as Mission Trails. Why WOULD anyone want to ruin it by putting up a power plant???