LAFCo Requires Mitigation Steps – SSJID’s Common Sense Solutions

The few area’s of SSJID’s Plan that were classified as “Less Significant with Mitigation” received the following recommended steps for mitigation in the LAFCo’s Subsequent EIR that they just published.

As you can see, the required mitigation is pretty straightforward and easily accomplished.

3.11a Retill agricultural lands following construction. If requested by the landowner, SSJID shall re‐till agricultural land used for laydown activities and pole placement to offset compaction caused by heavy material storage and construction activities. [From 2006 Final EIR Mitigation Measure 3.16b]

3.11b Consult with landowners. Where proposed electrical facilities would be located adjacent to or through agricultural lands, SSJID shall consult with the landowners concerning the placement of poles in cultivated land and site new poles to produce the least disturbance to irrigation equipment and farming practices. [Updated from 2006 Final EIR Mitigation

Measure 3.17a]

3.11c Adjust location of lines for agricultural operations and flight patterns. SSJID shall site poles in locations that minimize impacts to active agricultural operations. Specifically, SSJID shall align poles adjacent to field boundaries and parallel to rows (if located in row crops), and shall avoid diagonal orientations and angular alignments within agricultural land. SSJID shall construct poles with heights and spacing to minimize safety hazards to aerial applicators. [Updated from 2006 Final EIR Mitigation Measure 3.17b]

Preserve farmland to offset permanent losses. Loss of Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance shall be offset with comparable quality farmland at a ratio of one‐to‐one (1:1) with regard to the acreage of land removed from the capability for agricultural use. The one‐to‐one ratio is consistent with the required compensation ratio for agriculture lands identified in the San Joaquin County Multi‐Species Habitat Conservation and Open Space Plan (Nov. 2000). This could be accomplished through the direct purchase of a voluntary conservation easement on productive farmland or payment of an in‐lieu fee to a Farmland Trust within San Joaquin County. Fees collected would be used to purchase voluntary agricultural conservation easements within the County. A fee payment receipt must be obtained and documentation of the land purchase must be demonstrated prior to construction at the affected site. Mitigation lands shall be of comparable productivity based on the Department of Conservation criteria and shall meet all of the following criteria to qualify as agricultural mitigation:

• The mitigation land shall be designated as lands identified by the California Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program (FMMP) as Prime Farmland, Farmland of Statewide Importance, or Unique Farmland;

• The mitigation land shall have an adequate water supply for the purposes of irrigation. The water supply shall be comparable to, or better than, the land that is the subject of a change in zoning classification, and shall be sufficient to support ongoing agricultural uses. The water supply shall be protected through legal instrument, where applicable, to ensure that water rights permanently remain with the mitigation land; and

• The mitigation land shall be located within the County of San Joaquin. The mitigation land may overlap partially with existing habitat easement areas, as determined by the SSJID in consultation with the County and the California Department of Fish and Game; however, land previously encumbered by any other agricultural conservation easement shall not qualify, or be used for agricultural mitigation. [Updated from 2006 Final EIR Mitigation Measure 3.16a]

To view the entire report, click here

You Have a Friend With Power—SSJID

For SSJID to be able to provide retail electricity service for Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon at 15 less than PG&E’s rates, SSJID needs your support. Over the coming months it will be critical for local decision makers to hear from those who will be affected by this change.

Make this change a reality:

Please submit your comments on the Draft Subsequent EIR postmarked by January 17, 2012, as follows:

Via email to: jglaser@sjgov.org

Via mail to: James Glaser, Executive Officer

San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission

509 West Weber Avenue, Suite 420, Stockton, California 95203

Via fax to: (209) 468‐3199

If you want to help, please send an email to info@ssjid.com or call (209) 249-4600. Thank you in advance for helping make this savings a reality!


PUC acts more like lapdog than watchdog of PG&E

By Dennis Wyatt dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com -  209-249-3519
Want some reading that will curl your hair?

Just pick up a copy of the 194-page June 24, 2011 report of the independent review panel’s examination of the San Bruno explosion where a PG&E natural gas pipeline killed eight people and leveled a neighborhood. The report was prepared at the request of the California Public Utilities Commission that comes off more of a PG&E lapdog than a PG&E watchdog.

It is stuff that PG&E and the CPUC is hoping never gets wide distribution. They may get their wish given television’s inability to get beyond sound bites and needing visuals and the short attention span of many in the printed media.

The following bulletin points are taken verbatim from the report:

•1 “The NTSB’s findings to date identified both the material and the fabrication welds of the section of pipeline that failed did not meet either 1) the engineering consensus standards applicable to natural gas pipelines at the time or 2) the PG&E specifications in effect at the time of construction.”

•2 “The panel was mindful of the external criticism that has been leveled at PG&E. While it was acknowledged the company has many talented professionals, the CPUC admitted it was less effective in dealing with PG&E than any other utilities because of the ‘culture’ of PG&E.”

•3 “Management’s focus in recent times appears to have been focused on the occupational safety of its employees and lacking an equivalent focus on the public safety aspects of its system.”

•4 “PG&E provided erroneous data because of a lack of 1) robust data and document information management systems to archive historical data and 2) processes to capture emerging information about the underground gas transmission line.”

•5 “But the goals (PG&E) sets for management compensation purposes, its investments, and its practices do not suggest its focus is on achieving an industry leading pipeline safety and integrity program.”

6. “PG&E’s internal audit of its processes in 2010 identified in the field personnel were not adhering to the inspection policy during third-party construction, but no training was undertaken to remediate the nonconformance. Further, the company lacks a clear, disciplined communication process between field and general office engineering and between gas transmission engineers and integrity management personnel.

•7 “To fail to inspect during major adjacent earth disturbance and then to analyze the effect of that earth disturbance after-the-fact are examples of the operator pushing its luck.”

•8 “PG&E has no overall strategy to improve how it assesses the integrity of its system.”

•9  “In reviewing the pipeline 2020 program, we did not find it to be well-reasoned or based on a thoughtful examination of alternative. The plan appears to be reactive.”

•10 “PG&E’s management acknowledged to the panel that the implementation of field force automation is not as advanced as what other companies in the industry have available.”

•11 “In early 2007, (PG&E’s) Enterprise Risk Management program identified gas and electric system safety as one of the top 10 catastrophic risks facing PG&E. … PG&E defined a major natural gas transmission accident as one that had any of the following consequences: financial exposure from $100 million to $500 million; significant injury, illness or environmental impact; and/or national or international attention resulting in a severe negative consequence to the company’s image or reputation with regulators, consumers, or the general public.”

•12 “We would cite the following five factors as contributing to a dysfunctional culture…. excessive levels of management… inconsistent presence of subject matter expertise in management ranks… appearance-led strategy setting…. insularity … (and) overemphasis on financial performance.”

In a nutshell the CPUC essentially lets PG&E do as it pleases due to the for-profit’s ‘culture’ by apparently holding San Francsico-based utility to a lower standard than anyone else.

As for PG&E, image seems more important than safety. They also cry poor when it comes to spending money on pipeline safety yet they dumped:

•$46 million into the Proposition 16 campaign in a failed attempt to get voters to amend the California constitution to provide PG&E with a guaranteed monopoly.

•$35 million to sweeten departed chief executive officer Peter Darbee’s severance package.

•$12 million to buy a new corporate jet.

•more than $10 million into bonuses paid to top executives as a reward for steering them to the edge of bankruptcy.

That’s $103 million in just four instances that could have gone into improving pipeline safety.

And that is on top of a $35 million fine for state-imposed building and collection violations, $26 million in fines for a 2009 Christmas Eve natural gas pipeline explosion that killed a customer in Rancho Cordova and millions more in fines for wild land fires started due to failing to maintain power line right-of-ways.

It is clear PG&E refuses to put the public’s interest first and that the CPUC is inept at making sure PG&E doesn’t get reckless with its drive to put profit above public safety.

The time has come to pull the plug on the CPUC and/or PG&E and start all over.
http://www.mantecabulletin.com/section/38/article/25803/

What's Next?

LAFCo will review the additional information we’ve provided, and will schedule a hearing to make their decision early next year. We ask you to join with our community supporters and help bring lower rates to Manteca, Escalon and Ripon.

 Write to LAFCo at the address below and tell them you support SSJID's Public Electricity Plan.

San Joaquin LAFCO Commissioners

509 West Weber Avenue, Suite 420

Stockton, CA 95203

Cut Out the Middleman--PG&E

SSJID has been providing electricity wholesale to PG&E and others. All they are asking to do now is to cut out the middle man which is PG&E. SSJID can offer electricity, with better service and a local board of directors for 15% less than what PG&E charges. SSJID has proven this several times in the 53 months that their proposal has been laid out. Visit http://www.savewithssjid.com to see how you can speak up to the LAFCo and have a say in what you pay. 

Save 15% on Your Electricity--Write a Letter to LAFCo

SSJID wants to save the businesses and residents of Escalon, Manteca and Ripon 15% on their electricity. But first, the San Joaquin LAFCo needs to take a vote to grant the South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) the service area that PG&E currently supplies at a much higher rate. 

What you can do is write a letter to the LAFCo and tell them you support SSJID’s plan. Visit here for the details: http://www.savewithssjid.com/lafcoletter.htm

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