FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2019
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
Jeffrey Lambert, Community Development Director
CITY OF OXNARD RECEIVES AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION CALIFORNIA CHAPTER’S AWARD OF EXCELLENCE TITLED “HARD-WON VICTORIES: POWER STRUGGLE: HOW OXNARD TURNED THE TIDE OF CALIFORNIA’S ENERGY FUTURE”
Oxnard, California – Oxnard Community Development Director Jeffrey Lambert announces the City of Oxnard’s receipt of the American Planning Association California Chapter’s (APACA) Award of Excellence. The City received the award titled “Hard-Won Victories Award: Power Struggle: How Oxnard Turned the Tide of California’s Energy Future.” This award will be presented at the APACA’s annual conference in Santa Barbara on Monday, September 16, 2019.
The power struggle began at Oxnard City Council meetings filled to the brim with residents concerned about air pollution, climate change, and what many described as a feeling of Oxnard being treated as a land use “dumping ground.” The outcry led the City Council to unanimously pass an emergency moratorium against new coastal power plants and begin what would ultimately become a million-dollar ”David versus Goliath” battle against NRG, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), which had sole permitting authority.
The City Council was joined by a high tide of elected representatives: Congresswoman Julia Brownley, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, State Assemblywoman Monique Limón, and County Supervisor John Zaragoza. In 2015 and 2016, hundreds of Oxnard residents joined the struggle to stop the Puente power plant as the permitting process progressed to the CPUC and CEC. The City was also joined by community groups who were formal intervenors especially the Environmental Defense Center, Sierra Club, and Environmental Coalition of Ventura County. The Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a longstanding local social justice organization, led the community effort and turned out hundreds of people at over a dozen state agency hearings in Oxnard and in San Francisco where City planning staff and special legal counsel challenged numerous CEC findings and interpretations of Oxnard’s Local Coastal Program.
The Coastal Commission unanimously sided with Oxnard, citing sea level rise risks at the project’s beachside location.
Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez says, “I am so grateful for this award; but more importantly, I am thankful for our many partners both in government and in our community who came together to make this happen.” Ramirez will be accepting this award on behalf of the City of Oxnard, its community and elected partners.