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Proposed Calpine Power Plant
aka Metcalf Energy Center

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2004 @ 12:24 PM
Subj: Calpine Community Meeting/Neighborhood Protection Measures
From: S. Nelson

Calpine will be hosting another community meeting this evening from 5:30 – 6:30 pm in room 40 of the Martin Murphy Middle School located at 141 Avenida Espana. Calpine will update the community on the progress of the construction of the Metcalf Energy Center.

When Mayor Gonzales signed the deal with Calpine leading to the approval of the power plant, the Mayor claimed he was going to protect our neighborhoods by requiring Calpine to install two pollution monitoring stations, reduce startups, and convert to pollution control equipment that does not use ammonia.

There has been little progress in any of these neighborhood protection measures. Calpine has proposed very limited pollution monitoring stations that would not monitor particulate matter or any non-criteria pollutants such as acrolein that was a concern of CVRP during the evidentiary hearings.

With all the attention on Coyote Valley, the Mercury News should be paying more attention to these neighborhood protection measures especially the pollution monitoring stations. If you go back to the Mercury News editorial of June 13, 1999 endorsing the power plant, the editorial board supported the project in part by the following:

Neighborhood opponents talk as if the pollution will be dumped in their neighborhood. It won't be. The nearest neighborhood is almost three-quarters of a mile away. The pollutants would be emitted from 145-foot-tall stacks; the heat and force of the exhaust carry them even higher. They disperse into the air and blow around within the Bay Area. In addition, the majority of the time, the wind blows away from the neighborhood.

In one of the smart growth proposals developed by the Green Belt Alliance for Coyote Valley, the nearest neighborhood would start almost on the property line of the Metcalf Energy Center. In addition the pollution that the editorial board claims does not blow into existing neighborhoods would be blowing into Coyote Valley.

If the Mayor’s neighborhood protection measures were needed for the existing neighborhoods to the North of the power plant, they are essential for the new neighborhoods that may some day be built to the South. Unfortunately most of our civic leaders seem to be paying more attention to the design of the buildings in Coyote Valley, not the people who will be living and working there.

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