Anaheim’s “Dirty Cloud” Percentage Tops 5-City Mailer

An important mailer was sent out recently to five cities, including Anaheim, regarding the use of coal. The Renewable Energy Project or REAP named the Orange County city alongside Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and Riverside as failing to set annual goals for coal reduction or even a target date to become coal free. Among the five cities, Anaheim had the dirtiest cloud hanging over them according to the mailer as shown above (Riverside and Pasadena placed second at 62% of their energy being generated by dirty coal respectively) A press release on the action from REAP reads as follows:

Dirty coal emissions and its toxic by-products are poisoning air, land and water resources through the world with disastrous impacts on human health and the environment. Californians pride themselves on being innovators and protectors of the environment, yet very few know how much dirty coal is burned every day by local governments to generate what most people think is clean electricity. REAP wants to change that inaccurate perception.

“Our message is simple. We are urging 100,000 voters to tell their local elected officials to stop using dirty coal and switch to clean renewable energy for their electricity needs,” said Jim Gonzalez, Chairman of REAP.

Decades ago these cities entered into long term contracts with the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah to provide their electricity. This coal burning power plant is considered one of the top 20 largest coal burning polluters in the country. According to S. David Freeman, author of Winning our Energy Independence and the former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the urgency to rescind these contracts has never been more clear.

“To stop using dirty coal, these local utilities need to do two things. First set annual goals for reducing their dependence on electricity generated by dirty coal. Second, meet those goals by increasing their use of clean renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal and hydro-electric. By truly committing to clean renewable energy they can become in a few years, cities powered by electricity that is 100% coal free.”

The city of Anaheim posted a response to the mailer. It made mention of a great many things – except a target date to become coal free. In fact, it made mention of long-term contractual agreements with coal resources ending in 2027. I suppose the following passage from the response is suggesting an end date.

Anaheim is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment in economically sensible ways.  In 2006, our City Council approved a resolution that focused on increasing our renewable energy use, reducing power plant and fleet vehicle emissions, increasing green building opportunities, increasing energy and water efficiency opportunities, and providing community education on environmental issues.

Finally, it should be noted that a majority of Anaheim’s interest in coal resources are based on a long-term contractual basis, which will terminate in 2027.  Anaheim will not renew its interest in the contract at that point in time.

As it pertains to coal, ceasing its use for energy can’t come soon enough, especially in regards to the warming of the planet already underway. To all standing council members and those who are seeking election this November, keep this in mind. REAP’s demands are reasonable and just. We don’t have until 2027 to wait — especially when our dirty coal cloud tops the percentages of all the five cities targeted. Set annual goals and a true target date to make our city coal free!

About Gabriel San Roman