The made-for-TV drama that is the Mandalay Bay Puente Power plant ordeal has taken a dramatic twist with the revelation that NRG, the company behind the proposal to build a new power plant on Oxnard’s coast, has asked that grant funds to the city be rescinded by the state agencies that granted them.
Oxnard received $150,000 in grants last year from the California Coastal Commission and the California Ocean Protection Council in order to update its sea-level rise analysis. NRG claims that the city’s proposed amendments to the coastal plan would amount to an attack and could be unlawful, in its letter to the state agencies. Proposed amendments submitted by the Oxnard City Council would block new construction of power plants from being built inside Oxnard’s coastal zone.
“People should know that the residents of Oxnard have been asking for an update to the city’s local coastal plan since before 2007, to my knowledge, well before the current dispute with NRG,” said Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez, an outspoken critic of the proposed power plant and any power plants on Oxnard’s beach. “Oxnard’s LCP has not been updated since 1982 and is certainly way out of date. I became aware of this need during the community’s challenge to the liquefied natural gas terminal in 2006 or 2007. All coastal cities in California are required to have a LCP; Oxnard is no different.”
The company, however, in an apparent effort to win more support for the new plant, submitted this month a “proposed enhancement” plan to the California Energy Commission that includes the demolition of two of the generating-station units on Harbor Boulevard, but only if its plan to build a new plant is approved. Calpine, another interested party, has also submitted plans, though its power plant would be built in Santa Paula. Southern California Edison gave approval to NRG in 2014 to build the Puente Power Project next to the existing Mandalay plant, though at the time demolition of the generators was not included.
“NRG has chosen to proactively do what we have heard from many citizens of Oxnard and add the demolition of Mandalay Units 1 and 2 to our application for the Puente Power Project,” said Dawn Gleiter, NRG energy director of sustainable development in a statement. “We had hoped to include this as part of a broad and comprehensive community agreement but absent such an agreement, we felt it was appropriate to add the demolition as part of the ongoing permitting process.”
Ramirez could not comment on this latest revision to the proposal.
For more information on Oxnard’s coastal plan, see staff report at http://oxnard.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=47&clip_id=3215&meta_id=156895, page 3. For general information about coastal plans, go to www.coastal.ca.gov/lcps.html