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Power plant gives money to support clean-air projects

POSTED December 16, 2011 8:44 p.m.

A Bay Area power plant presented the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District with funds to help off-shoot the costs of pollution-reduction efforts.

Mariposa Energy, LLC, the owner/operator of the Mariposa Power Plant in Alameda County provided the Air District with a check for $644,503, as part of a 2009 agreement.

The plant is just outside the jurisdiction of the San Joaquin Valley, and instead is in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. However, it is expected that when the plant becomes operational in 2012, it will have an impact on the San Joaquin Valley’s emission levels.

“We are delighted with the desire of Mariposa Energy to be a good neighbor to San Joaquin, even though it is under the jurisdiction of another air quality management district,” said Leroy Ornellas, San Joaquin County supervisor and a governing board member of the Air District.

The funds are to be used to support clean-air projects, particularly those in Mountain House and Tracy, the communities closest to the plant.

The plant, which will be operated on an “on call” basis during hours of peak power consumption as determined by the California Independent Systems Operator, is seven miles northeast of Tracy and 2.5 miles west of Mountain House in San Joaquin County. Potential emissions from the

plant include nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, all of which are pollutants of concern in the Valley.

“We do believe in being good neighbors and in building the cleanest, most environmentally sensitive projects we can,” said Mariposa President Yasuyuki Asakura. “As air emissions do not respect county borders, we approached this issue from a regional basis and reached out to San Joaquin. We’re happy to help our neighbors to the east with their air quality issues.”

Some of the clean-air projects to be undertaken include replacing and retrofitting heavy duty diesel engines and electrification of agricultural pump engines.

“Because of the unique characteristics of pollution in the Valley, we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that pollution from source outside the Valley do not impose added burden to the Valley residents and businesses,” said Seyed Sadredin, the Air District’s air pollution control officer and executive director.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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