As preparation gets underway to draft an Environmental Impact Report on a proposed energy project that would see electrical lines and massive towers stretch across Lake Elsinore, the Cleveland National Forest and surrounding Southland areas, the city is digging in its heels.
In a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, the Lake Elsinore City Council moved that staff will draft a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission in opposition to the Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serrano 500 kV Interconnect Project.
“We don’t want it here,” Mayor Amy Bhutta told staff Tuesday night.
In the letter, which is expected to be drafted by staff Wednesday, the city will provide a comprehensive list of concerns and questions it has on the project, including environmental, seismic, fire, impact on city residents during proposed construction, decreased property values and non-compliance with regulations that call for a gradual shift to renewable energy sources.
In the letter, the city will also express its desire that, if the project were to actually move forward, all lines be placed underground.
Councilman Bob Magee added that he wants the city to become an intervener in the project proceedings moving forward.
If constructed, the project would see nearly 32 miles of overhead power lines and 138 steel lattice towers stretching from the proposed Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage Project (LEAPS) facility, southward to SDG&E's existing 230 kV Talega-Escondido transmission line in San Diego County, and northward to SCE's 500 kV Valley-Serrano transmission line in Riverside County.
The electrical transmission line and towers would wind through the Cleveland National Forest, just west of Lake Elsinore and other Southwest Riverside cities.
None of the council members expressed support for the project, which was in line with local residents who were on hand Tuesday to speak on the issue.
The proposed project would be a “substantial detriment to the residents, city and environment,” said Lake Elsinore resident Pete Dawson, one of five people who spoke in opposition.
Such fervent resistance was also on the project.
The city is expected to send its list of concerns to the CPUC by April 29, the deadline the agency has set to receive public comment on the project.
According to the project schedule, the CPUC will publish an Environmental Impact Report late this year, and public comments on that report will be heard next spring.
A final Environmental Impact Report is expected April 2012.