Letters to the Edfiror

April 15, 2016

RE: Fossil fuel power plant 

To the Editor:

Hi my name is Maria Elena Terrazas and I am a junior at Santa Paula High School. A fossil fuel power plant is being proposed to be built right outside of Santa Paula on Mission Rock road. We as members of the community directly affected by its construction cannot allow this to occur because it would be detrimental to human health, disregard the efforts for restoring the Santa Clara River, and will become obsolete. 

The power plant is surrounded by agricultural fields, is 1.5 miles from Briggs School, and is in the Santa Clara River 100 year flood plain. The natural gas power plant will emit particulate matter in PM10 and PM2.5. Particulate matter in these levels can physically not be filtered out by our lungs. Constant exposure to particulate matter lead to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Farm workers working in the fields surrounding the natural gas power plant and the students of Briggs Middle School will be subjugated to breathing in air contaminated with a lung damaging substance. By allowing the power plant to be built we subjugate our children, friends, and family members to an early grave that is completely preventable. Because particulate matter is air pollution damaged lungs will become the reality of Santa Paula citizens. If we allow the power plant to be built because the finical gain outweighs the detriment to human life then we assign a dollar amount to the lives of our loved ones.     

The construction of the power plant also completely disregards the efforts of Sierra Club, Friends of the Santa Clara River, UCSB, the Nature Conservancy, CAUSE, and student volunteers who actively worked to restore the Santa Clara River. The Santa Clara River is one of the last natural free following river in Southern California and home to beautiful wildlife such as willow trees, mule fat, and steelhead trout. The plan of the people directly involved in the restoration is to open a parkway to share the beauty of the Santa Clara River with the public. Unfortunately, the welcome center to the Santa Clara River parkway would be right next to the fossil fuel plant. The irony in the location is clear. By allowing the power plant to be built it shows clear disregard for the people who have spent so much time and energy preserve our natural habitats.

The opposition will say that the energy and finical gain brought by the construction of the power plant outweighs citizen life and the restoration of the Santa Clara River. However, the finical gain would be short lived. Fossil fuel energy is being phased out of use. Governor Brown has signed a bill mandating that 50% of California energy be renewable by 2030. With such strives to reduce fossil fuel energy, why are we building a fossil fuel plant of our own? The construction of the fossil fuel plant is planned to become obsolete. The answer for the financial issues and energy needed by Ventura County is not in methods of the past but those of the future. With a town as sunny as Santa Paula and obvious choice for energy is solar panels and even though the sun doesn’t shine 24/7 solar energy can be stored and used in peak energy times such as 8 at night. Santa Paula should not be forced in to having a polluting plant congesting the lungs of our loved ones and destroying the efforts of our citizens when a better solution is available that complies with the goals of the state. 

As a community we need to make it clear that a fossil fuel plant with not be tolerated here or anywhere is Ventura County. We can work together to preserve the health of our loved ones and the environment while making strides toward the future. I urge the citizens of Santa Paula to attend the next city council meeting and let their voices be heard. Give our city council members reason to oppose the construction of the power plant with the desires of the citizens inside the town it directly effect. And join us in fighting the power (plant)!                

Yours Truly,

Maria Elena Terrazas

A mystery is 

developing in Santa Paula. 

To the Editor:

The mystery centers on the proposed new fossil fuel power plant west of town. The Limoneira Company, and at least one city councilman really seen to want this plant in their own backyard. Why? 

The proposed fossil fuel power plant would be a major new source of particulate and oxides of nitrogen air pollution, worsening the area’s already serious ozone and particulate air pollution problems. County levels already exceed State and Federal air quality (health) standards. The new source of pollution would make the air even more unhealthy, especially for children and the elderly. 

We’ve heard that some of the money received by Limoneira for partnering with the power plant project would be donated back to the residents of Santa Paula. At first, that sounds pretty good, but think about it. Why would the residents of Santa Paula want to start breathing more polluted air just to receive some donations from Limoneira? In reality, Limoneira would probably continue to donate money to Santa Paula (as it has for many years) even if the power plant weren’t built. 

The City Council should take a stand against this project and Limoneira should re-think whether this really is a good business deal after all. By rejecting the proposed power plant, the City and Limoneira could avoid what we all learned as children - don’t foul your own nest.

Phil White


The writer is an engineer and a former Director of the Ventura County APCD

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