San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt (as well as other local officials) is lending his voice and influence to a battle between Chino Hills and Southern California Edison. In October of 2010, the power company began constructing 200-foot towers that are a part of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project. From the beginning, the city objected to having the towers traverse through its territory since the towers are so large. While Chino Hills filed a lawsuit, it was ultimately rejected in 2010 by a Superior Court judge. The towers are being built as part of a state mandate for more sustainable energy, as they will provide wind-generated electricity from Kern County to Los Angeles. But local government officials in the city and region are worried about property values, health risks, and noise. In an update, Supervisor Ovitt is calling on the Public Utilities Commission to take back a permit that allows Edison to construct the towers. The Supervisor commented, “The state of California and Southern California Edison have not reached a point-of-no-return. This decision can and should be reversed immediately." The Daily Bulletin reports:
“Ovitt also plans to send a letter to each commissioner as well as to Gov. Jerry Brown urging them to reverse their prior decision. Chino Hills officials have argued Edison's easement is too narrow for expanding the size of the electrical towers currently being built in the city. […] On Wednesday, representatives from the offices of Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, and state Sen. Bob Huff, R-Walnut, also toured the area with Public Utilities' Commissioner Timothy Simon. ‘I think our residents through their emails, phone calls and letters are getting other legislators outside of our area to notice what is happen to us,’ Mayor Ed Graham said.”
Before filing a lawsuit, Chino Hills did propose an alternative route but the PUC called Edison’s route the better option. The city also lost its appeal in the case last month when a panel of judges ruled in favor of the PUC’s ultimate authority on the matter. Now the city is looking to have the state Supreme Court review the Court of Appeal's decision and a ruling could be available by mid-January. Ovitt’s district director says the supervisor was against Edison’s application to the commission from the outset due to concerns about the quality of life of local residents.