A Little Something for Your Troubles

You don’t want a power plant on the outskirts of Hayward? Well, here’s a package of goodies valued at $1.6 million for your troubles–courtesy of Calpine. The San Jose-based power producer announced a partnership Thursday related to the coming Russel City Energy Center near the Hayward Shoreline.

Calpine says the deal includes 26 acres of shoreline “to remain undeveloped in perpetuity.” Also included are contributions for an endowment to manage the conservation easement and a six-year commitment for trailside improvement and maintenance for portions of the Hayward Regional Shoreline.

The controversial natural gas plant gained approval by the state’s air board earlier this year. Two years ago the Environmental Protection Agency pulled the air district permit after it deemed Calpine failed proper outreach to the community. The power plant may break ground later this year and be online as early as 2012, but not without continued opposition in the city, specifically from Chabot College.

The community college has lodged rigorous disagreement to the power plant slated to be built just a mile away off Depot Road. Administrators, teachers and students say the project features old technology that will significantly lower the air quality around the campus and adjacent neighborhoods.

Nevertheless, today’s gifts from Calpine (they have already proposed giving the city $10 million for the construction of a new library) highlights a curious irony–a power company touting the image of a green thumb.

-STEVEN TAVARES
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