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Panel delays vote on rules to build new power plants

July 14, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

The South Coast Air Quality Management District delayed a vote Friday on a set of rules for building new power plants. The proposed rules, which would allow plants to pay fees to make up for each pound of pollution they generate, would have given a boost to a planned 914-megawatt plant in Vernon.

The agency rescheduled the vote after AQMD board member and Chino Mayor Dennis Yates said he needed more time to review the scores of letters about the proposal.

"We all need to do our homework a little more with regard to this issue," added Santa Ana Mayor and AQMD board member Miguel Pulido.

But Tim Grabiel, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said backers of the new rules asked for the delay because they could not marshal the votes. "They didn't vote on the matter because they would have lost," he said.

The NRDC and a handful of other clean-air groups fear the new rules would allow Vernon to build a natural gas-powered plant in a low-income, highly polluted section of southeast Los Angeles County. Backers of the plant said the facility would help the region prevent power outages.

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