ROSEMEAD, CA - Today, residents, community leaders, medical professionals, and clean energy supporters – including the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) and the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign - rallied outside Southern California Edison’s headquarters in Rosemead. Protesters gathered to call on Edison replace the closed San Onofre Nuclear Plant with clean energy instead of dirty gas.
"Dirty gas-fired power plants get dumped in Southern California's low-income communities and communities of color, releasing toxic methane and carbon dioxide into already highly polluted communities,” said Strela Cervas, Coordinator with CEJA. “These expensive gas plants lock customers into years of payments in exchange for dirty energy. Southern California can easily meet our power needs with clean energy resources such as local renewable energy and energy efficiency. The choice for Edison and the California Public Commission is clear: more dirty power plants and clogged lungs, or renewable energy."
“For far too long, the people of Southern California have been forced to breathe dirty air, compromising their health and overall quality of life,” said Dr. Luis N. Pacheco, Family Physician and Clinical Associate Professor at Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Unfortunately, I continue to see the impact dirty air has on our communities and their families on an ongoing basis, from asthma attacks to chronic allergy symptoms to heart failure and the loss of loved ones. The public simply cannot physically handle more polluting power plants and dirtier air when better solutions like solar energy can help us get the job done.”
“The Public Utilities Commission have a choice to make,” said Opamago Agyemang, a leader with Sierra Club’s My Generation campaign. “They can choose to keep us tied to even more dirty power plants that degrade the air and our health, or they can help our community prosper by choosing local clean energy. Today we’re calling on Southern California Edison to be better members of our community and publicly reject new gas plants.”
The California Public Utilities Commission is currently deliberating on how to replace the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, with the final vote expected this Thursday, March 13. The closing of this nuclear plant could be an opportunity to build more dangerous gas-fired power plants that are often built in low-income communities of color. These gas plants are already contributing to the ozone pollution that leaves the Los Angeles basin with some of the dirtiest air in the country, with an "F" rating from the American Lung Association. Residents of affected communities have held a series of escalating protests and actions in recent months, demanding that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station be replaced with clean energy and jobs, not more dirty gas-fired plants.
New gas plants would lock in more carbon pollution for decades to come and would undermine California’s climate targets. According to the California Air Resources Board, greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012 for the first time since 2008 because of increased reliance on gas plants after San Onofre closed. The state is already feeling the impacts of climate change, with record drought and increased intensity of wildfires.