PALMDALE – As a vote to decide the fate of the proposed Palmdale Power Plant draws near, Lancaster city officials appear to have ramped up their opposition campaign against the project.
They’ve used mailers, a newspaper ad, an email newsletter and fliers to encourage residents to speak out against the proposed Palmdale Power Plant at a board meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 17).
During the meeting, the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District will vote on whether to transfer emission reduction credits for project, which is the last remaining phase of approvals needed for construction of the plant.
Palmdale city officials are fighting back against Lancaster’s opposition, calling it a “campaign of lies” that “reached a new low.” In a recent city news release, Palmdale officials took aim at a Lancaster-funded postcard and newspaper advertisement created to oppose the power plant.
Read the Palmdale city news release below:
Fact vs. Fiction, Part 7 – Lancaster Campaign of Lies Plunges to New Lows With Postcard, Ad Fraught with Misleading Graphics and Statements
The City of Lancaster, led by the disingenuous and outrageous claims of R. Rex Parris and Marv Crist, reached a new low with their latest attempt to scare, misinform and mislead the public through a recent “hit mailer” and newspaper ad created and paid for by Lancaster.
“It is disgusting that public officials would resort to using cheap Photoshop tricks and deceptive statements on a mailer to residents and an ad in the local newspaper,” said Palmdale City Attorney Matthew Ditzhazy.
“It is sad that the leaders of Lancaster are spending taxpayer dollars—at least $20,000 the mailing and $4,400 on the ad —to intentionally deceive and mislead their residents,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “They continue to ignore scientific evidence and lie to their constituents, all for their own sordid political gain.”
“Just because a Mayor has killing a power plant on his bucket list doesn’t mean you have the right to ignore the evidence that the project is safe, clean and approved by the California Energy Commission, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District,” Ledford said.
Parris was quoted as including on his bucket list stopping “Palmdale from moving ahead with that natural-gas fired hybrid energy power plant” in an article in the Antelope Valley Press on July 8, 2013.
Some of the deceptive images and statements made by Lancaster on the postcard and ad include:
- Using a photo of an alleged power plant that looks nothing like Palmdale’s with phony ‘smoke’ added on top.
- Inserting a quote from an AVAQMD employee out of context encouraging people to attend the meeting under the headline, “This may be your last chance to stop the power plant.”
- Quoting from the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) staff assessment in 2010, which was actually written a year BEFORE the CEC issued its Final Decision, Lancaster attempts to show that the power plant would not comply with all applicable Laws, Ordinances, Regulations and Standards (LORS), or with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. However, the very same paragraph from where the quote was taken states that the adoption of staff recommended conditions would overcome the problems. A year later the CEC states in its Final Decision, “that implementation of the Conditions of Certification, below, and the mitigation measures described in the evidentiary record, will ensure that the PHPP conforms with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards relating to air quality. (CEC, Final Decision, Air Quality, 6.2-35)
- Threats that the power plant will impact health of families and children despite the findings of the CEC and EPA to the contrary.
- Claiming the power plant will be 60 feet away from Lancaster when the power block is 1/3 mile south of Avenue M and Lancaster city limits. Furthermore, the Lancaster property that is adjacent to Palmdale is a combination of heavy and light industrial use property as designated by the City of Lancaster zoning map.
- Ignoring the Community Choice Aggregate option as a mechanism to lower electricity rates.
- Misrepresenting emissions from the power plant which are, in reality, 25 tons less than the emissions which will be generated by the two big box outlets Lancaster proposed to build across the street from Quartz Hill High School.
“These and most of the other points they make on their pieces of propaganda are really irrelevant to what the AVAQMD will be doing next Tuesday,” said Palmdale’s Communications Manager John Mlynar. “They keep trying to deflect from the matter at hand which is the approval of transfer of ERC credits—something the board has done 17 times previously. The fact of the matter is, this meeting on Tuesday is about receiving the ERC credits which Palmdale has lawfully obtained.”
Previous lies from the deceptive duo of Parris and Crist have included that the power plant:
- Would kill children
- Claims that the EPA has stated this type of facility “will cause death”
- Create a six mile high plume of pollution that would float over schools and soccer fields
- Cause job losses at Air Force Plant 42
- Be akin to the Challenger space shuttle disaster
- Was approved because the CEC and EPA processes are “flawed”
- Was approved because the CEC “rubber stamps” power plant approvals
Parris’ latest bizarre statement came during last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, where he asked a Lancaster staff person after a presentation on the City’s disaster plan, “So if they build the Palmdale Power Plant, could we get FEMA money under the terrorist provision?” The staff person replied, “If we can make a finding.” To which Parris replied, “Good. Let’s work on that. You know, you’ve got to find every dollar you can find.”
Lancaster’s opposition is a 180 degree turnaround from its previous position. At a Lancaster City Council Meeting in Nov. 2008, Parris had previously endorsed the power plant. Parris stated: “Personally, I think this is an incredible step in the right direction for the entire Antelope Valley. It would appear that the entire Antelope Valley will soon become the 21st century energy capital of the world. That’s what we’re looking forward to…be sure to convey our sentiments to Palmdale. We absolutely will be a cooperative partner in this venture.”
Other Lancaster officials, including City Manager Mark Bozigian, Councilmember Ron Smith were quoted in an Antelope Valley Press article on Oct 6, 2008 as supporting the power plant.
The tone has certainly changed.
Lancaster has also traveled outside the Antelope Valley with hopes of sabotaging the power plant. At a recent Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting, Assistant City Manager Jason Caudle implored the Board to vote against Palmdale’s request to transfer ERC credits from the San Joaquin Valley Air District to the AVAQMD, but only before informing the board that Lancaster would soon be applying for credit transfers themselves. Supervisor Mike Maggard noted this apparent contradiction in his closing remarks as the Board rejected Lancaster’s request.
“This is the type of behavior we have come to expect from the City of Lancaster,” stated Ditzhazy. “This is a City whose Mayor claims he—-not Lancaster—- is suing Palmdale over voting rights, and yet their City Manager shows up at our hearing in court in Los Angeles. Their act is getting old and tired.”
“And now Crist wants to start a water war in the Antelope Valley?” said Palmdale City Manager Dave Childs in reference to a comment Crist made in the Antelope Valley Press on Dec. 12 where he vowed to prevent Palmdale from obtaining the recycled water it plans to pipe from a treatment plant in Lancaster to the power plant site. “Exactly how is that a business friendly action?”
“Lancaster lied about job losses at Plant 42. They lied about children dying on the soccer fields. They lied about a six mile high plume that they claimed would interfere with air traffic at Plant 42. They’ve use words from AVAQMD employees of context to make it look like the AVAQMD was opposed to the power plant when staff approved the ERC credit transfer. They’ve used statements from outdated CEC reports that contradict what the CEC stated in its Final Decision. They deny the statements in the EIRs that show that their shopping centers they want to build across from Quartz Hill High School will generate more emissions than the power plant. They Photoshop ‘smoke’ on their hit mailers. Why anyone would believe a word they say about the power plant is beyond reason,” said Mlynar.
The Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District meeting starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 in the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theatre, located at 3041 West Avenue K in Lancaster.
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