The California Energy Commission held a public workshop yesterday (January 10) for a proposed natural gas power plant in Oxnard, California, but environmental activists cut the meeting short.
About 30 activists and community allies mostly with the California-based grassroots organization Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy interrupted the meeting around 6:30 p.m. PST chanting, “No more power plants; we say no,” and holding signs highlighting their opposition to the project.
The Puente Power Project came about in 2012 after the California Public Utilities Commission expressed a need for more power in the Oxnard area, which is predominantly Latinx. Activists say that the California Energy Commission recommended power company NRG Energy Inc. build the project in Oxnard. The project is still in the permitting process as the commission holds more meetings before voting on its final decision in May, says Kay Cuajunco, communications associate with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, in an email to Colorlines.
For generations, the region has been powered by polluting power plants dumped on the working class and immigrant community again and again. It has become the region’s sacrifice zone, littered with dirty industry neighboring communities would never allow. Oxnard is already home to two power plants, three landfills, and a superfund site where a metal recycling plant left a wake of toxic chemicals.
Local police didn’t arrest anyone at the meeting, reports the Ventura County Star. State officials and NRG Energy Inc. representatives left the meeting escorted by police 10 minutes after protestors began chanting.
Watch the video below to hear from a community member on why they’re fighting this battle.