OXNARD (CBSLA) – A California Energy Commission committee is expected to recommend denying construction of a controversial natural gas plant in Oxnard.

In a preliminary statement Thursday, a committee made up of two of the five CEC commissioners said it intends to issue a recommendation to deny the Puente Power Project (P3) “on the grounds that it creates inconsistencies with laws, ordinances, regulations or standards and significant environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated.”

P3, which would be constructed by NRG Energy, is designed to replace two of the three power plants at the current Mandalay Generating Station, also in Oxnard. The two stations must be pulled offline by 2020 in order to comply with state laws that require that the plants not be cooled using ocean water.

Puente would be built at the current Mandalay site. It would cost an estimated $299 million, according to a recent report by the California Independent System Operator, which offered several alternative energy sources to a natural gas plant.

The Puente plant was proposed by Southern California Edison as a replacement for Mandalay and approved in June 2016 by the California Public Utilities Commission. It would provide enough electricity to power 130,000 homes, NRG said.

The final decision on whether to move forward with the plant must be decided by all five CEC commissioners, according to the Ventura County Star.

Puente has drawn opposition from several groups, including the city of Oxnard and the California Coastal Commission, the Ventura County Star reports. Among the criticisms is that it is too close to the coastline and does not vibe with the state’s goals of pursuing clean energy alternatives.


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