On March 21, communities in North East Los Angeles faced a win when the City Planning Commission of Glendale rejected a proposal from Glendale Water and Power to construct a biogas plant at the Scholl Canyon Landfill. Then last week, the Glendale City Council voted to halt the forthcoming $500 million natural gas-fired Grayson power plant, and first investigate clean energy alternatives through a Request for Information process. In the work of environmental justice, it can seem that wins are much too rare. Take the time to see what went right below, and celebrate the wins.
Glendale Grayson Plant Halted
After months of battling with Glendale Water & Power (GWP), a fierce campaign led by Stop Grayson and the Glendale Environmental Coalition resulted in a strong show of force by the community, with 500 showing up to the February 9 rally and 400 last week. The April 10 Council meeting culminated in 9 hours of testimony and deliberation, a 3am vote by city council, a decided win for healthy communities, land and climate. Glendale City Council voted 4-1 to halt the forthcoming $500 million repowering of Grayson’s dirty energy plant, and first investigate clean energy alternatives through a Request for Information (RFI) process.
Stop Grayson Gas Plant in Glendale – Kids Call for Clean Energy – Paloma Nafarrate
For months, GWP has been pushing against community desires by looking to renew and expand the Grayson Power Plant, increasing emissions by 415,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, increasing ozone and particulate pollution, and generating electricity to sell to other cities. GWP has claimed there are no good alternatives to a large gas plant at Grayson, but never hired real clean energy experts to find out. Concerned community members in Glendale and neighborhoods of North East Los Angeles requested the council commission a study of clean energy alternatives to Grayson and empower a citizens advisory group to ensure the process is transparent, comprehensive and even handed.
The Council Meeting on April 10th put a pause on the confirmation of the faulty Environmental Impact Report and instead demands a report on information from alternative energy companies and consultants on what to do with an aging Grayson Power Plant beset with failures.
Kids for Clean Energy Future in Glendale, California – Paloma Nafarrate
To be sure, the fight is not over. GWP will write a Request for Information and send it to the market with a 90 day deadline. “We should feel good about what we’ve done. It’s not easy to turn a tanker especially when $500 million is involved. But it’s a tentative victory that could easily slip away if we aren’t vigilant,” said Dan Brotman, who leads The Glendale Environmental Coalition and is an active member of SoCal350.
After the RFI is submitted within the next three months, City Council will determine whether alternative options were missed, or may proceed with the EIR as it stands.
Of course, even when communities come together for the most basic safety and health requirements, they very often go unheard and ignored, particularly low income communities and communities of color. Residents of Wilmington, Inglewood, and South LA, for instance, have been fighting for years to get oil drilling out of their backyards — a mere 3 FEET AWAY as in Historic West Adams. Activists do incredible work to protect the health and safety of Angelenos on the front lines of urban oil extraction to the constant pushback of the City and State.
And still, in the hard and slow movement for a sustainable world, a just world, we must not let this moment escape us. This moment — where a community has come together to say No More Dirty Energy, to say Yes to Healthy Land, Air & People — and has been heard — this moment should be recognized.
Scholl Canyon Biogas Plant Rejected
On March 21, communities in North East Los Angeles faced a similarly too-rare victory when the City Planning Commission of Glendale rejected a proposal from GWP to construct a biogas plant at the Scholl Canyon Landfill. The proposal included a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), declaring the project would not have a significant effect on the environment. After residents showed up in droves to share their voices against air quality impacts and fire risk, the commissioners concluded GWP must prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) before proceeding with the project.
Despite the stall, commissioners voiced their approval of the MND, and described their rejection was motivated primarily by the outpouring of concerned residents. “If I were the king of Glendale, I would approve this because everything seems to be exactly what it needs to be,” said Commissioner Leonard Manoukian. “But I think we have reached a moment where we have to finally care to a certain extent of the trust the residents of Glendale have in their government.”
Looking forward, the fight on both fronts continues. Stay tuned by subscribing to our newsletter as updates will be forthcoming — but don’t forget to take a moment to honor little victories, and recognize your role in turning little victories into large-scale progress.