Commerce resident and community activist Ed Miles, who collected 1,400 signatures opposing the Central Basin’s rate increase, said the Central Basin’s recycled water line project would not benefit water users like him.
“The water that we’re talking about is recycled water – water that is only used in special interests… golf courses, cemeteries, parks and industrial use. That’s all it’s for,” he said.
The point of the recycled water line is to make money off of selling water to the Vernon Power Plant (now called the Southeast Regional Energy Center), which will only bring more pollution to the area, he said.
Commerce City Councilman Robert Fierro also linked the recycled water line to a potential deal with the city of Vernon’s power plant project. “I just want to say, myself as a resident, obviously this recycled water project was going straight from somewhere in Montebello to Vernon, basically to supply the Vernon Power Plant. It was going to bring lots of money to Central Basin,” he said.
Vernon spokesperson Heather Herndon said there are no contracts with Central Basin. “This is way too premature,” she said. The fate of the power plant is “up in the air,” she says.
The California Energy Commission’s staff made a motion Aug. 13 to ‘terminate’ Vernon’s application to build the Southeast Regional Energy Center. A vote by the Energy Commission’s committee, which has the option of suspending rather than terminating, is pending.
“The city of Vernon approached us a couple years ago… asked us if we could provide them with recycled water. With power plants, they have to use recycled water by law. We said yes, because that is a big user,” says Central Basin Spokesperson Valerie Howard.
Because there are questions as to whether Vernon’s power plant will be built, the Central Basin has divided the recycled water line project into two phases. Only the second phase would involve Vernon, so that the Central Basin could potentially begin work on the first phase, which would be in Pico Rivera and Montebello, she said.
The Malburg Generating Station, a power plant in Vernon, currently buys recycled water from the Central Basin. The city of Vernon has sold the station, but still distributes power from the station to its industrial residents.
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