As an Oakley resident, I would like to think many people in this community would be upset over news regarding a recent court decision to block the Oakley power plant from coming online. This was a disastrous decision and the ramifications will cost Oakley dearly the longer this project is stalled.
The story yesterday making the rounds in the Associated Press was the court decision that awarded The Utility Reform Network (Turn) a victory on a technicality to stall this project. TURN essentially challenged the court’s decision as a transparent attempt to side-step consumer concerns by allowing PG&E to move ahead with a plant despite a Commission finding that PG&E didn’t need the plant.
I get it; TURN scored a victory while essentially calling PG&E and the commissioners corrupt. So what? The real story and the local story that should have been reported and cause an alarm to go off is what this decision potentially costs Oakley and its residents.
This is the damage of a reckless lawsuit will have on our city:
- $6.8 million community benefit to fund capital improvements is lost
- 3 million for various transportation, landscaping and infrastructure improvements is lost
- $2.8 million toward potential environmental improvements is lost
- $250,000 towards a community grant program for non-profits such as 4-H, La Clinica and Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed is lost
- $150,000 towards East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is lost
- Local school funding is lost
- 730+ local jobs are lost
- Senate Bill 536, authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier specifically for Oakley’s benefit would be useless without the power plant.
Another angle is that Radback was filling the void left by the States dissolving of Redevelopment Agencies. This would have put a cushion to the blow which is now gone. This was another angle not reported that is so vital to the future of the City. As you can see, the potential now lost will cost the city dearly which is why citizens must unite to fight this rabble rouser group called TURN.
I would encourage the City to form a committee that is dedicated to help educate local residents and build support to oppose this cockamamie argument TURN used to gain a win on a technicality. If anything, local residents and businesses should support a community partner in Radback who has invested time and has become vested in Oakley.
Radback should be considered family and we should fight for them as they have become one of us. They were doing their part to be a good corporate neighbor and community sponsor for the reasons stated above.
At the end of the day, this is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue, but rather a local issue where the funding is needed. Oakley needs this power plant more than what is being reported in the news and now is the time to get involved.
We must take a stand as local residents and fight for the much needed benefits that come from this project.
Sources include the following:
The Utility Reform Network Press Release
Court Sets Aside Approval of Gas Plant in Oakley
Oakley Power Plant Breaks Ground
Groundbreaking Set for New Plant