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$194K question: Will SSJID lowering power rates cause global warming?

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POSTED February 2, 2010 1:52 a.m.
Will South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s bid to take over PG&E’s retail system in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop trigger a rise in the ocean level?

It’s part of the environmental assessment that SSJID must address as part of the application it has made to have the San Joaquin Local Formation Agency consider its request to allow the 100-year-old water agency to move forward with its bid to lower power rates 15 percent across the board in the three communities.

The more thorough examination at the LAFCO level demanded this time around by PG&E with SSJID’s concurrence will cost the water district $194,600. The SSJID board last week authorized Aspen Environmental Group to do the work.
Global warming is just one part of the environmental review studies that is being done.

Including the impact a “project” will have on global warming is a tactic that was unsuccessfully used a few years ago against Cambay Group by environmental groups in a bid to stop the 11,800-home River Islands at Lathrop project from moving forward. The courts rejected the argument that building the homes on Stewart Tract would force a rise in the ocean by the vehicles driven – as well as other typical household undertakings such as cutting lawns with gas powered lawnmowers - by increasing greenhouse gases.

Theoretically, by lowering power costs SSJID could spur more growth within the 72,000-acre district than under PG&E. The LAFCO examination of SSJID’s bid to enter the retail power case is coupled with its municipal services review.

SSJID, unlike PG&E, has 100 percent of its portfolio in either green friendly or renewable energy. PG&E is under the gun after failing to meet the California Public Utilities Commission requirement that 20 percent of its energy sources be renewable in nature.

SSJID – in partnership with Oakdale irrigation District – has 130 megawatts of renewable hydroelectric energy plus 1.4 megawatts of solar energy on its own. The Tri-Dam Project operated with Oakdale Irrigation District is in the process of enhancing its hydroelectric capacity by 17 megawatts.
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