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Climate and Environment

Sierra Club Files Lawsuit Against Construction of New Glendale Power Plant

An aerial rendering shows the layout and position of buildings.
A rendering of the proposed Grayson Repowering Project in Glendale.
(City of Glendale Water and Power)
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The local Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit to block the construction of a natural gas power plant in Glendale known as the Grayson Repowering Project.

The lawsuit claims the environmental impact report for the proposed plant misinforms the public about the project.

Byron Chan is an attorney with the nonprofit firm Earthjustice which filed the suit on behalf of the Sierra Club.

“There were significant flaws and errors in the city of Glendale's analysis, that didn't provide transparency into the environmental impacts that would result from the project.”

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The Sierra Club brought the lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires local governments to identify environmental impacts.

Among its claims, the lawsuit alleges the environmental impact report inflates Glendale's energy needs.

For example, Chan says both Glendale and neighboring Burbank are similar-sized cities. However, Burbank reported their energy needs as 80 megawatts, as opposed to Glendale’s reported 148 megawatts.

“Glendale claims that it's obligated to meet this reserve obligation,” says Chan. “It's using that to justify to build out a huge gas power plant that is far and above what it would ever need on a typical day.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the City of Glendale overlooked the impact the plant could have on surrounding low-income communities and communities of color.

“But if you look at, for example, just the census tract that the Grayson power plant is in, that census tract in CalEnviroScreen has a score of 98.“ says Chan.

CalEnviroScreen is a mapping tool used to identify communities in the state that are most vulnerable to the effects of pollution.

“So that means that it is the pollution burden and the vulnerability burden in that community is greater than 98% of any census tract in California," he said. "So the idea that there are no environmental justice communities in Glendale is not supported by the data.”

The lawsuit comes after California set a goal to phase out electricity generated by fossil fuels by 2045.

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We have reached out to the City of Glendale for comment and have not heard back.

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