19 March 2013

Industry Utility Project in Tonner Canyon?

As reported in Sunday's San Gabriel Valley Tribune (click here for the article,) the City of Industry City Council approved a six-month contract with a La Jolla-based energy developer, who will explore possibilities for a public energy project on Industry-owned land in lower Tonner Canyon in an unincoroporated area of Orange County.

Bill Barkett of Industry Water and Power will focus on a 525-acre section purchased by Industry about a decade ago and, at which time, indicated that the property was bought for open space.  The city's decision to look into to potential development sparked comments from Hills for Everyone executive director Claire Schlotterbeck, who noted that the council vote "certainly blows away their position" on the open space question and from Brea Community Development Director Eric Nicoll, who remrked that "they misrepresented themselves in court" when the parcel was acquired and that the city would be keeping a close eye on future developments..

The Tribune went to some lengths to point out that Barkett and his wife, Lisa, "are major contributors to the state's Democratic candidates," by giving nearly $60,000 in the 2009-10 election season and then averred that this constituted "deep political connections to the state's Democratic party."  Yet, reporter Ben Baeder's piece did not offer any tangible reasons why the Industry deal had any relationship to the Barketts' donation preferences.

In any case, concerns about the future of Tonner Canyon, now almost entirely owned by Industry, which controls 5,700 acres, have existed for years, so this new arrangement will be interesting to follow.


Anonymous said...

As of now, December 2013, there is a significant construction project underway in lower Tonner Canyon in the area where the SCE transmission line crosses the canyon. Excavation is underway. I have asked the Building Deparments in the Cities of Industry, Diamond Bar and Brea about the construction. They all had not idea of any project.

prs said...

Hi anonymous, thanks for your comment. It may be that the work you're describing is related to the Tehachapi renewable transmission project. See page 5, top, under "Segment 8, Phase 1" concerning an August approval for work in Tonner Canyon here: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/environment/info/aspen/antelopepardee/reports/apreport289.pdf. This is only a guess, however.