PALMDALE – For the third time in less than a month, the City of Palmdale has responded to set the record straight regarding “erroneous comments” made by Lancaster city officials. The issue again involves the Palmdale Power Plant.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Palmdale officials cited a California Energy Commission study to refute the “unsubstantiated claim that the Palmdale Power Plant would create a six mile high plume,” which would affect operations at Plant 42. Read the full press release below:
Fact vs. Fiction, Part 3 – Lancaster Officials Spin Tales of Imaginary Six Mile High Plume
PALMDALE – In their continuing efforts to spread misinformation about the Palmdale Power Plant, Marvin Crist and R. Rex Parris have made erroneous comments about plumes that they claim will be produced by power plant operations.
At the May 21 Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD) Crist revived his unsubstantiated claim that the Palmdale Power Plant would create a “six mile high plume.”
In his response to a presentation by Palmdale’s Public Works Director Mike Mischel, Crist stated, “You’re talking a plume that will be 6 miles in the air—steam, but at some times it will be six miles in the air….It still burns fossil fuels, tons of emissions going over the top of the soccer fields – a plume that will be six miles high on a daily basis.”
Crist has raised this concern before, claiming that the alleged “six mile high plume” would affect operations at Plant 42.
The FACT is, according to the study done by the California Energy Commission (CEC) which issued the permit to construct the Palmdale Power Plant, no such “six mile high plume” exists. In its Commission Decision on the Palmdale Power Plant issued in Aug. 2011, the CEC stated in the Visual Resources section that “Under certain weather conditions, visible water vapor plumes would emanate from the exhaust stacks and cooling tower.” The documentation states that the plumes are seasonal, during certain hours, conditions, and generally Nov. though April.
The report stated: “The original 20th percentile plume dimensions from the proposed ten-cell cooling towers were estimated at approximately 574 feet high, 161 feet wide, and 225 feet long. Based on the PSA workshop, Staff revised the plume modeling ….and the revised plume dimensions are larger than earlier calculations: 622 feet high, 203 feet wide, and 231 feet long. (CEC Commission Decision, Visual Resources, Pages 8.5 18 & 19.)
“That’s only 31,680 feet short of Crist’s claim and only a little more than the height of the wind turbine that Parris wants to put up in the middle of Lancaster with almost no environmental review,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “The steam plume will generally only be visible on cool, damp days in the winter in a very small window of time.”
Not to be outdone by Crist, Parris complained about the visual impact of the steam plume at a Lancaster City Council Meeting on June 22, 2010 after the second of two presentations made by the City of Palmdale to the Lancaster Council on the power plant. Parris claimed it “significantly alters the landscape.”
According to the CEC’s Commission Decision, Visual Resources, “we find that the gas turbine/HRSG exhausts will have a plume frequency of less than 20 percent of seasonal clear hours, and would therefore result in less than significant visual impacts.” (CEC Commission Decision, Visual Resources, (Page 8.5-19.) Also, in the Conclusions of Law section the CEC stated that “Implementation of the following Conditions of Certification will result in the project causing no significant direct or indirect impacts to visual resources. (CEC Commission Decision, Visual Resources, Conclusions of Law, Page 8.5-23.)
“Well, there he goes again,” said Ledford. “A considerable amount of time and study went into what visual impacts the Palmdale Power Plant would have. Antelope Valley residents should know that although there will be significant economic benefits of the power plant, most people won’t even know it’s there.”
Among the many economic benefits of the power plant include: over 800 skilled, union construction jobs, overwhelmingly drawn from the local communities; 35 direct, permanent, high paying jobs, with benefits and longevity; 40 – 50 additional indirect (e.g., material and equipment suppliers, truck drivers, out-sourced maintenance services, etc.) and induced (e.g., grocery stores, laundromats, eateries, etc.) jobs; over $5 million dollars a year infused into the local economy. This includes purchase of supplies and equipment, outsourced maintenance, vehicles, legal services, insurance, car & equipment rentals, painting, waste disposal, etc.; more than $6 million annually in property taxes, most of which will accrue to the County, including contributions to local school and water districts; up to $5 million invested for paving of 4 – 6 miles of roads, much of which are in unincorporated Los Angeles County; the construction of a regional reclaimed water trunk line at a cost of some $20 million which will benefit both Palmdale and Lancaster, paid for by the power plant; and up to $27 million paid to the City of Palmdale through the sale, enabling expansion of important general fund programs such as law enforcement and parks programs.
For more information on the Palmdale Power Plant, please visit www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/palmdale.
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