Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trees Up North, Power Lines Down South

A little over a year ago we poked fun at PG&E's "ClimateSmart" program that gave customers the option of voluntarily taxing themselves to raise money for new trees that would soak up greenhouse gas emissions.

Well the results are in--17,500 climate conscious folks participated and now $2 million worth of trees are going to be planted in Santa Cruz County and on the North Coast. Estimates are that the new trees will remove 214,000 metric tons of greehouse gasses-- the equivalent of taking 40,000 cars off the road for a year.

Elsewhere, yesterday was the first PUC hearing on the Sunrise Powerlink. The battle lines have been drawn with proponents talking up the need to support renewabel energy projects near the Salton Sea and detractors calling B.S. due to expected habitat destruction and a more than small change that SDG&E might try to pull and bait and switch and hook the transmission line up to Mexican fossile fuel plants.

According to the Union Trib:

"The utility's preferred route calls for erecting 246 towers from El Centro through the Anza Borrego Desert, with an overall permanent habitat loss of almost 500 acres. The planned route would require redesignating 50 acres of state wilderness areas, and the study said it would harm a variety of animals, rare birds, reptiles and insects such as the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly.

Opponents also questioned whether SDG&E really intends to connect the Sunrise Powerlink to renewable energy plants, or if the line would be used to link to natural gas power plants in Mexico."

The PUC could decide the issue this summer.

PG&E to fund forest projects [San Francisco Chronicle]

Powerlink fans, foes face off [San Diego Union Tribune]