Earlier this week, Chino Hills voted 3-0 (with two members abstaining for conflict reasons) to appeal an earlier court ruling that the Public Utilities Commission has "exclusive jurisdiction with regard to the right-of-way property rights issue between the City and SCE regarding the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project route through Chino Hills."
Southern California Edison's Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project is a massive, $1.8 billion project designed, in large part, to connect wind farms in the Tehachapi area to the main electrical grid. The project involves installation of approximately 175 miles of transmission lines, much of it through remote, undeveloped area and within existing Edison right-of-way.
Some new right-of-way is required, and SCE has been acquiring that right-of-way through a combination of negotiated acquisitions and eminent domain actions.
One segment, in particular, has been the subject of controversy. Segment 8a focuses on replacing existing 220-kV lines in the Chino Hills area with new, larger 500-kV lines. SCE describes this segment as follows:
Replacement of existing single-circuit, 220 kV line that runs from the existing Mesa Substation area to the Chino Substation area and existing double circuit, 220 kV line from Chino Substation to the existing Mira Loma Substation with a 32-mile double-circuit, 500 kV line.
Residents in Chino Hills don't like the plan, and the City has been fighting with SCE over possible alternatives. The latest skirmish involves an April 2010 decision, in which the court ruled that it has no jurisdiction over SCE's route-selection process. The ruling allows a December 2009 decision by the PUC approving the Project, including Segment 8a, to stand. The PUC's order approving the project makes clear the high stakes involved:
It is imperative that California sites and constructs transmission more expeditiously, and this Decision is a step in the right direction. It is important that we invest in the critical infrastructure that will move us incrementally closer to our renewable energy goals while fostering green collar jobs opportunities.
Now, the City has decided to appeal the court's ruling, hoping to overturn the PUC's approval. An April 15, 2010 Press Release provides more details and background on the City's arguments and the history of the dispute.
Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues. His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes. His public ...
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