Power Plant Plan has Byron Airport Pilots Fuming

A private pilots association that helped halt construction of a power plant in Hayward is taking aim at a similar plant proposed 2.7 miles south of Byron Airport in East Contra Costa County.

The California Pilots Association says hot plumes of ammonia released from the proposed 200-megawatt gas-fired plant could damage planes and threaten control and expose pilots and passengers to a health risk.

The county-operated airport has a sky diving school and hosts ultralights and gliders as well as propeller aircraft and corporate jets. The proposed plant, the Mariposa Energy Project, would be built in Alameda County west of Mountain House.

“There’s a lack of oxygen in the plume and a number of contaminants that could affect engine operation or the pilots’ ability to see,” said Andy Wilson, representing the 5,000-member pilots association. “Health hazards would also come into play. That’s why the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is involved.”

The California Energy Commission is the chief regulator of power plant construction in the state. The Mariposa power plant is one of 31 statewide under consideration for certification, commission spokeswoman Michele Demetras said.

The pilots association joined Hayward, Alameda County and several environmental groups in opposing the 115-megawatt Eastshore Energy Center proposed about a mile and a half south of Hayward Executive Airport.

Editor’s Note: An important point left out of this article is the fact that these Power Plants are huge polluters, a fact that most county/city officials seem to want to sweep under the rug versus the tax revenue the power plant will generate.

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