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Community News

Report summary provided by Andrew Mendoza aide to District 2 Councilmember Charlotte Powers

District 2 - Metcalf Energy Center Advisory Committee

September 29, 1999

Members Present: George Aboud, Darcy Becker, Celcilia Dirstine, Jeff Dixon, Mike Tatarkaris, Jeff Wade, Terry Bradford, Joe Cassisi, Rebecca Elliot, Margaret Leathers Sidener, Dan Stockton, Jackie Adams, Kaitilin Gaffney and Lorrie Landis

Members Absent: Anne Catherine Vinickas, Troy Bunnell and Art Gonzales

A) Councilmember Charlotte Powers opened the meeting by thanking the community and Advisory Committee members for taking the time to participate in the meeting. Next she announced that the meeting topic/issue was Air Quality. To speak on the topic/issue were Chris Tooker of the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Bob Nishimura of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

B) Chris Tooker of CEC presented an overview of CEC's analysis criteria/standards for air quality/emissions for such proposed projects. In summary, Chris explained that CEC conducts a "Modeling Analysis" for such compounds as nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and sulfur oxide, and a "Risk Assessment" is conducted for public health cancer/non-cancer compounds. The CEC analysis is a rigorous internal 12-month process "independent" of the analysis conducted by the applicant Calpine. Currently, CEC anticipates a preliminary staff analysis on December 7, 1999 and a staff report/findings in late January 2000. For more information please contact Chris Tooker (916) 653-1634 or www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/metcalf

C) Bob Nishimura of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District gave an overview of its history and organizational structure (i.e., Board of Directors, Advisory Council and Hearing Board). He also explained the process and the methods that are used by the District to analyze the air quality within nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Napa, Southwest Solano and Southern Sonoma). Within these areas, the District regulates such things as open burning incineration, smoke, odors, gasoline and other evaporative compounds in accordance to federal and state requirements (e.g., EPA and Cal -EPA). Some of the most common pollutants include ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Bob further stated that there are two monitoring stations for Santa Clara County (including South San Jose/Coyote Valley). There is one state and local "Full Station" in downtown San Jose (measurement equipment includes - ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter), and state and local "Particle Stations" in San Martin, Gilroy and Alum Rock Park (measurement equipment includes - ozone). As a means to provide the quarterly reports per site/source, there are 60 inspectors who cover 65,000 sources (equals approx.1 inspector per 100 sources). For more information please contact Bob Nishimura (415) 749-4679 or www.baaqmd.gov

D) Questions raised by the Advisory Committee in terms of the Air Quality issues and presentation included.

Question: What is meant by "significant air quality impacts" in terms of the proposed project?
Reply: This definition pertains to CEC's analysis process in terms of proposed direct emissions impact of existing state and federal standards. For example, the proposed project would be in violation of existing emissions peak standards if emissions data are over 90%. This would signify a "red flag" or "significant air quality impact."

Q: Does the CEC analysis contain compound readings (e.g., sulfur oxide) closes to the proposed project site, and are the bar levels higher then local standards?
R: Compound data obtained for the analysis will include data collected from the San Jose and Gilroy monitoring sites and from the greater Bay Area (San Francisco) sites. In terms of the bar levels for Modeling Analysis and Risk Analysis, measurements of level of pollution not the emissions are higher then local standards/criteria. Additionally, such analysis considers the highest pollution level/peak.

Q: What would happen if the CSJ did not rezone the Tulare Hill parcel?
R: The applicant (Calpine) could make an appeal to the CEC Commission which has the authority to override the CSJ decision.

Q: If the proposed project was built, what governmental agency is the authoritative body?
R: CEC is the governmental agency that oversees the licensing, operations, expansion and closure of such facilities in collaboration with the Bay Area Air Quality Resource Board and Environment Protection Agency, Dept. of Toxic Control, Regional Water Control Board and Dept. of Fish and Game. Evaluations are based on site visits, emissions cap permit, and quarterly reports that include daily and weekly operation activity.

Q: Are there alternatives to natural gas facilities to produce electricity (both residential and commercial/industrial)?
R: Yes, new technology is and will be providing methods for co-generation, renewable energy and small "energy cells" that will allow one to have self "personal/private" electric generation off the electric grid with the potential of distributing the excess electricity to the grid.

Q: Does CEC take into consideration alternative sites for proposed projects?
R: Yes, and they are currently identifying a number of alternative sites that are equivalent to the proposed project in terms of parcel size, scope and transmission access etc.

Q: What is the current status of the application at the Air Quality District?
R: The application is currently considered incomplete and the District has requested additional data from the applicant. Because of that, it is unlikely that the District will have a preliminary staff analysis at the same time CEC presents their preliminary staff analysis on December 7, 1999.

E) The community also raised a number of questions pertaining to the proposed Metcalf Energy Center project.

Question: Will the Air Quality District set up temporary air pollution reading equipment next to the proposed site?
Reply: No, currently the District plans to use data gathered by downtown San Jose and Gilroy monitoring stations. Also, it could take up to three to six months just to set up a temporary monitoring station. However, the analysis will include both stationary sources and "real time" sources (e.g., traffic, lawn mowers etc.).

Q: Will the CEC and Bay Area Quality Management District provide 3D visuals and charts to the community which show wind patterns/flow in the proposed project area (South San Jose/Coyote Valley)?
R: CEC and the Air Quality District do not have such data available but will follow up on the possibility to have such information made available to the community.

Q: What is the process to have the proposed project placed on a ballot measure?
R: There are two options for City-wide ballot measures. 1) A request can be made to the City Clerk by any community member and/or group to have an issue placed as a ballot measure. 2) A Council Member can request that an issue be placed as a ballot measure or initiative.

Q: Does the Air Quality District have a comprehensive list of companies (public and private) that have "banked credits" for current and future emission?
R: Yes, the industry can be considered a "marketable community" and a comprehensive list is available to the public listing name, type, source and history.

Q: Are there fines or fees given to operators who violate emission standards?
R: Yes, the Air Quality District can seek and impose violation fees/fines or "civil penalties" of $10,000 per day where a number of persons are injured due to negligence. Willfull violations involving excess emission can lead up to a maximum of $25,000 to $50,000 total.

Q: Are there any examples of similar projects located in neighborhoods?
R: Yes, within the last ten years CEC has approved a few sites located near neighborhoods. Examples include Crockett Plant and SMUD Plant in Sacramento.

Note: This is not a legal or formal document and is not intended to present a word for word report but rather a brief meeting summary, highlights and overview. AAM Dist. 2 Powers

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