Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That's "The San Francisco Way"...

Playing a tough Irish beat cop in the movie "The Untouchables," actor Sean Connery utters the now famous line about taking down mobster Al Capone, "That's the Chicago way."

Well, just like the feds put away Capone by filing charges completely unrelated to murder and bootlegging, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is taking a similar strategy in his quest to shutter the last big power plant in the City by the Bay.

The 40 year old plant, which is owned by Mirant, prominently and defiantly belches smoke into the air from its massive smokestack, and uses millions of gallons of bay water every day as a coolant. The ramifications of the smokestack are obvious, and environmentalists contend that the heated water discharge is killing fish, so you can imagine how popular this facility is in San Francisco.

But Herrera can't seem to lay a glove on Mirant for any of the usual transgressions that would typically doom a power plant in the Bay Area, so he filed a lawsuit alleging that five vacant buildngs on the property have not been seismically retrofitted, in accordance with a 1992 city ordinance.

Sounding like a straight-out-of-central-casting agenda-driven prosecutor, the San Francisco Chronicle quotes Herrera as saying, "To the list of corporate lawlessness that includes polluting our air, ground and water, we can now add Mirant's defiant refusal to address the safety risks to its own employees," Herrera said in a statement. "

Herrera isn't going to score many points for objectivity, but for creativity, he gets an "A".

San Francisco aims to close Mirant power plant [San Francisco Chronicle]