STATE OF CALIFORNIA
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

Southern California Edison's El Casco System Project

(Application A.07-02-022, filed February 16, 2007)


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Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website for the environmental review of the proposed El Casco System Project (Proposed Project). The Proposed Project includes construction of the El Casco Substation; upgrades to the Zanja and Banning Substations; transmission line upgrades and installation from the new El Casco Substation, located within the Norton Younglove Reserve, east to the Banning Substation in the City of Banning; and telecommunications improvements.

The objective of Southern California Edison's (SCE's) Proposed Project is to build the electrical facilities necessary to serve forecasted demand in Calimesa, Beaumont, and the surrounding areas of unincorporated northern Riverside County, and to maintain safe and reliable service to customers in the area.

The Proposed Project was subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and was approved by the CPUC on December 18, 2008 in Decision 08-12-031. The CPUC, as Lead agency under CEQA, prepared a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in response to SCE's Petition to Modify the approved El Casco System Project, which was submitted on August 29, 2011 following completion of final engineering. A Supplemental Draft EIR (November 30, 2011) and Supplemental Final EIR (February 17, 2012) were completed to assess the changes in Segments 2 and 4 necessitated by final engineering, as detailed in SCE's Petition to Modify. The CPUC granted approval of SCE's Petition to Modify Decision 08-12-031 on March 22, 2012 in Decision 12-03-035.

Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report

The CPUC, as Lead Agency under CEQA, has prepared a Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in response to Southern California Edison Company's (SCE) Petition to Modify (August 29, 2011) on the approved El Casco System Project (Project). The Supplemental Final EIR has been prepared in compliance with CEQA (CEQA Guidelines 15163).

The Supplemental Final EIR includes the Supplemental Draft EIR (November 2011) in its entirety, with revisions resulting from comments received on the Supplemental Draft EIR shown in underline text for additions and strikeout text for deletions, as well as all comment letters received during the public review period for the Supplemental Draft EIR (November 30, 2011 to January 17, 2012) and responses to those comments (see Section F).

The Supplemental Final EIR was released for public review on February 17, 2012 and is available for review at several area libraries (see "Repository Sites" below) and on this Project website.

Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Report

The CPUC, as Lead agency under CEQA, prepared a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in response to SCE's Petition to Modify the approved El Casco System Project (submitted on August 29, 2011).

The Supplemental Draft EIR was prepared to inform the public of changes to the approved Project and the associated environmental impacts resulting from new design information provided by SCE for the 115 kV subtransmission line. SCE provided this information subsequent to the CPUC certifying the Final EIR and approving the Project on December 18, 2008.

The Supplemental Draft EIR contains a new Executive Summary and Introduction (Section A) which summarize the environmental review process completed thus far for the El Casco System Project, summarize the approved Project and the proposed changes to the approved Project, explain why a Supplemental Draft EIR is being prepared, and summarize the results of the environmental analysis of the proposed changes. An updated Visual Resources analysis (Section C.1 - Visual Resources) is provided, which analyzes the visual impacts of the revised design of the 115 kV subtransmission line. A discussion of those issue areas where the proposed changes to the approved Project would not result in a substantial change in the impacts previously analyzed for the approved Project is also provided (Section C.2 - Issue Areas Where Modifications Result In No Substantial Change).

The Supplemental Draft EIR was released for public review on November 30, 2011.The review period ended on January 17, 2012.

Recirculated (Revised) Final Environmental Impact Report

The CPUC, as Lead agency under CEQA, prepared the Recirculated Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for consideration of SCE's Proposed El Casco System Project. The Recirculated Final EIR was prepared in compliance with CEQA, and includes responses to comments received during the Recirculated Draft EIR comment period (July 9, 2008 through August 22, 2008), updates to the original Final EIR resulting from new information presented in the Recirculated Draft EIR, and any text changes resulting from the comments submitted and a feasibility review of mitigation measures.

The Recirculated Final EIR was released for public review on October 17, 2008 and made available for review at several area libraries and on this Project website. The Recirculated Draft EIR, the original Draft EIR, and the original Final EIR were also made available in their entirety on the Project website (see below). Copies of these documents were also made available on CD-ROM and could be requested by phone, fax, or by e-mail.

Recirculated (Revised) Draft Environmental Impact Report

The CPUC, as Lead agency under CEQA, prepared a Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) for consideration of Southern California Edison Company's (SCE) Proposed El Casco System Project (Proposed Project).

The Recirculated Draft EIR for the Proposed Project was prepared to inform the public of changes to the document resulting from new information provided by SCE regarding the ambient noise levels adjacent to the existing single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission line. This information was received subsequent to the CPUC publishing the Final EIR on April 11, 2008.

The Recirculated Draft EIR contains an updated noise analysis (Section D.9) reflecting the new information received from SCE; an updated cumulative noise effects analysis (also in Section D.9), an updated Comparison of Alternatives analysis (Section E) the includes a revised discussion of the Environmentally Superior Alternative; and an updated Executive Summary summarizing the changes to the above mentioned sections. Only those sections that have changed from the original Draft EIR published in December 2007 (discussed below) are included in the recirculated EIR, per CEQA Guidelines §15088.5(c).

The Recirculated Draft EIR was released for public review for 45 days on July 9, 2008. The Recirculated Draft EIR public review period ended on August 22, 2008.

Original Environmental Impact Reports

The CPUC prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) in December 2007. The Draft EIR details the Proposed Project, evaluates and describes the potential environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of the Proposed Project, identifies those impacts that could be significant, and presents mitigation measures, which, if adopted by the CPUC or other responsible agencies, could avoid or minimize these impacts. The Draft EIR also evaluated alternatives to the Proposed Project, including the No Project Alternative, as required by CEQA. The Draft EIR was released for public review for 45 days on December 12, 2007. The Draft EIR public review period ended on January 25, 2008.

The CPUC published the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) on April 11, 2008. The Final EIR was prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and included responses to comments received during the original Draft EIR comment period from December 12, 2007 through January 25, 2008 and any text changes resulting from the comments submitted.

Public Meetings and Hearings

The CPUC held one Pre-Hearing Conference and four public meetings to provide information on the Project and to take public comments.

During the scoping period (July 16, 2007 through August 14, 2007), the CPUC held one Pre-Hearing Conference and two public scoping meetings in two locations in northern Riverside County on August 1, 2007, as follows:

Pre-Hearing Conference
Location Banning City Hall Council Chambers
Date August 1, 2007
Time 1:00 to 2:30pm
Address & Phone 99 East Ramsey Street
Banning, CA 92220
(951) 922-3102

Public Scoping Meetings
Location Banning City Hall Council Chambers Beaumont Civic Center Council Chamber
Date August 1, 2007 August 1, 2007
Time 2:30 to 4:30pm 6:30 to 8:30pm
Address 99 East Ramsey Street
Banning, CA 92220
550 East Sixth Street
Beaumont, CA 92223

During the Draft EIR public review period, the CPUC held public workshops and public participation meeting in the City of Banning on January 9, 2008 as follows:

Location City of Banning Council Chambers
Day, Date Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Time 1:30 to 2:30 PM Workshop
3 to 4 PM Public Participation Meeting
5:30 to 6:30 PM Workshop
7 to 8 PM Public Participation Meeting
Address,
Phone
99 East Ramsey Street
Banning, CA 92220
(951) 922-3102

Scoping Report

In September 2007, a comprehensive Scoping Report was issued that summarized the issues and concerns received from the public and various agencies during the scoping period (July 16, 2007 through August 14, 2007), and presents copies of all written comments received. Approximately 15 letters and emails were received during the NOP scoping period from public agencies and private citizens.

The Appendices to the Scoping Report are available here:

Notice of Preparation

In accordance with CEQA, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the El Casco System Project was issued on July 16, 2007 (also see the list of Available Documents below). The NOP summarizes the Proposed Project and advises the public and interested parties of the scoping process for the upcoming environmental impact review. The dates, locations, and times of the CPUC's pre-hearing conference and scoping meetings are identified in the NOP.

Repository Sites

All project-related documents were made available for review at the following project information repository locations (Call to verify hours):

Repository Sites
Site
Location
Phone
Hours of Operation
Yucaipa
Branch Library
12040 5th St.
Yucaipa CA 92399
(909) 790-3146
Sun Closed.
Mon-Wed 11am-7pm
Thurs-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat 9am-5pm
Banning
Public Library
21 W. Nicolet St.
Banning, CA 92220
(951) 849-3192
Sun Closed.
Mon-Thurs 9am-7pm
Fri-Sat 9am-5pm
Calimesa Branch
Library
974 Calimesa Blvd.
Calimesa, CA 92320
(909) 795-9807
Sun, Mon Closed.
Tues,Thurs, Fri 10am-6pm
Wed 12pm-8pm
Sat 9am-5pm
Beaumont
Library
125 E 8th Street
Beaumont, CA 92223
(951) 845-1357
Sun 1pm-6pm.
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm
Tues,Thurs 10am-8pm
University of
Redlands
Armacost
Library
1200 East Colton Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373-0999
(909) 748-8081

Mon-Thurs 8am-midnight
Fri 8am-7pm
Sat 10am-7pm
Sun 1pm-midnight
(Jan. 3-April 29, 2012)


CEQA Process and CPUC General Proceeding

CEQA requires the CPUC to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from the Proposed Project, and requires the preparation of an EIR if the Project has the potential to result in significant impacts to the environment. CEQA also requires that the EIR development process include public notice of the Proposed Project and address relevant environmental concerns that the public may have regarding the Proposed Project.

The initial public scoping and comment period for the Proposed Project was 30 days per CEQA requirements, from July 16, 2007, until August 14, 2007. During this period, public comments were accepted and two public scoping meetings and a pre-hearing conference were held, prior to selection of alternatives and the preparation of the analysis documented in the EIR. The intent of the scoping process was to obtain input from affected agencies and members of the public on the scope and content of the EIR.

The Draft EIR includes an objective analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the Proposed Project. In addition, the Draft EIR provides a detailed discussion of alternatives, including a comparison of each alternative to the Proposed Project. Per CEQA requirements, the Draft EIR was distributed for a 45-day public review period. A notice of completion (NOC) of the Draft EIR was filed with the State Clearinghouse by the CPUC. The CPUC considered all comments on the Draft EIR, prepared responses to comments, and revised the document (as necessary) prior to issuance of the Final EIR on April 11, 2008. The Final EIR included responses to comments received on the Draft EIR during the original public review period.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) also prepared a Recirculated Draft EIR for consideration of the Proposed El Casco System Project. The Recirculated Draft EIR was prepared to inform the public of changes to the document resulting from new information provided by SCE regarding the ambient noise levels adjacent to the existing single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission line. SCE provided this information subsequent to the CPUC publishing the Final EIR on April 11, 2008. The Recirculated Draft EIR was released for public review for 45 days on July 9, 2008. The Recirculated Draft EIR public review period ended August 22, 2007. A NOC was filed with the State Clearinghouse by the CPUC.

On October 17, 2008, the CPUC released the Recirculated Final EIR for the Proposed El Casco System Project. The Recirculated Final EIR was prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality, and includes responses to comments received during the Recirculated Draft EIR comment period (July 9, 2008 through August 22, 2008), updates to the original Final EIR resulting from new information presented in the Recirculated Draft EIR, and any text changes resulting from comments submitted and a feasibility review of mitigation measures.

The CPUC approved the Proposed El Casco System Project in Decision 08-12-031 on December 18, 2008.

On August 29, 2011 SCE submitted a Petition to Modify to change the design of portions of the 115 kV subtransmission line. A Supplemental Draft EIR was prepared to inform the public of changes to the approved Project and the associated environmental impacts resulting from these changes. The public review period for the Supplemental Draft EIR started November 30, 2011 and ended on January 17, 2012.

On February 17, 2012, the CPUC released the Supplemental Final EIR for the El Casco System Project. The Supplemental Final EIR has been prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, and includes the Supplemental Draft EIR (November 2011) in its entirety, with revisions resulting from comments received on the Supplemental Draft EIR shown in underline text for additions and strikeout text for deletions, as well as all of the comment letters received during the public review period for the Supplemental Draft EIR (November 30, 2011 to January 17, 2012) and responses to those comments (see Section F).

The Supplemental Draft and Final EIRs supplement the Final EIR, which is comprised of the original Draft EIR published in December 2007, the Final EIR (Responses to Comments) published in April 2008, the Recirculated Draft EIR published in July 2008, and the Recirculated Final EIR (Responses to Comments) published in October 2008.

Other Available Documents

  • Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the El Casco System Project Proposed by Southern California Edison Company prepared by the CPUC (July 16, 2007)

  • Fact Sheet - El Casco System Project prepared by CPUC (June 2007)

  • Southern California Edison's Proponent's Environmental Assessment (PEA) (March 14, 2007)

    Note: The link above provides access to 59 manageably sized files comprising the PEA. The complete PEA is also available for download from the Southern California Edison website as a single very large file (155 MB). This file size means a very long download time, not advisable for anyone with a dialup connection.

Project Description

The El Casco System Project includes the proposed El Casco Substation site, upgrades to the Zanja and Banning Substations and the SCE's Mill Creek Communications Site, upgrades to a total of 15.4 miles of existing 115 kV subtransmission line and associated structures, and the installation of fiber optic cables within existing conduits in public streets and on existing SCE structures between the Cities of Redlands and Banning. All portions of the Proposed Project are located within Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, California. The main project components are described below and indicated on the General Location Map.

Construction of the El Casco Substation. The new 14-acre El Casco 220/115/12 kV Substation would be located on a 28-acre plot within the Norton Younglove Reserve in Riverside County. This component would include associated 220 kV and 115 kV interconnections and new 12 kV distribution line connections (getaways). The substation would be designed with a low profile (structures no taller than 40 feet). Landscaping around the substation would incorporate primarily native vegetation and would be designed to screen views of the substation site. Once constructed, the substation would be an unattended, automated 220/115/12 kV substation.

Upgrades to the Zanja and Banning Substations. The 115 kV switchracks within the Zanja and Banning Substations, located in the Cities of Yucaipa and Banning, respectively, would be rebuilt to accommodate the new 115 kV subtransmission line, thereby allowing for at least two subtransmission lines to serve each substation at all times. This would reduce the likelihood of temporary power outages, which currently occur due to the fact that each substation is served by only one 115 kV subtransmission line at a time. If there is a problem with the primary (or "preferred") line, a brief delay currently occurs before the secondary (or "emergency") line can be connected. The upgrades to the Zanja and Banning Substations would eliminate this delay by providing a connection for a second 115 kV subtransmission line for each substation that would be active at all times. Replacement of the switchracks in both substations would occur within the existing fenced-in areas.

Transmission Line Upgrades and Installation. These upgrades would include replacement of existing single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission lines with new, higher capacity lines; tying existing 115 kV and 220 kV lines into the new El Casco Substation (looping in); and installation of new 12 kV distribution line getaways at the El Casco Substation.

The proposed upgrades of the existing single-circuit subtransmission lines would include the following:

  • Approximately 13 miles of single-circuit 115 kV lines would be replaced with 115 kV double-circuit lines between the new El Casco Substation and the Banning Substation, traversing the Cities of Banning, Beaumont, and unincorporated Riverside County. Single-circuit 115 kV structures would be replaced with 115 kV double-circuit structures.

  • Approximately 1.9 miles of single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission line would be replaced with new, higher capacity single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission lines and new support structures within existing SCE rights-of-way (ROWs) in the City of Beaumont and unincorporated Riverside County.

  • Approximately 0.5 miles of single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission line would be replaced with new, higher capacity single-circuit 115 kV subtransmission lines on existing support structures in the City of Beaumont.

The existing San Bernardino–Maraschino 115 kV subtransmission line would be looped into the new El Casco Substation 115 kV switchrack on two new approximately 900-foot line segments between the existing ROW and the 115 kV switchrack. The Devers–San Bernardino No. 2 220 kV transmission line would be looped into the new 220 kV switchrack at the El Casco Substation on two new approximately 500-foot line segments between the existing ROW and the 220 kV switchrack. Two approximately 400-foot underground duct banks would be constructed for the 12 kV distribution line getaways, traversing beneath San Timoteo Creek and the railroad tracks. These distribution lines would eventually be connected to future distribution lines in the area.

Telecommunications Improvements. Proposed improvements to the telecommunications systems as part of the Proposed Project include the construction of a microwave system at the proposed El Casco Substation and SCE's existing Mill Creek Communications Site in the San Bernardino National Forest, as well as installation of fiber optic cables within public streets and on existing SCE structures in the Cities of Banning, Beaumont, Calimesa, Redlands, and Yucaipa, as well as unincorporated parts of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

The following link provides a general Project map: Map 1-General Location  (2.5MB)

Additional maps and figures for the Proposed Project and alternatives are can be found in the Proponent's Environmental Assessment, which is provided as a link.

Commission Decisions

D12-03-035 - Issued March 22, 2012

Attachment A - CPUC CEQA Findings of Fact

D.08-12-031 - Issued December 18, 2008

Attachment A - CPUC CEQA Findings of Fact

Project Construction Activities Subsequent to CPUC Approval

On December 18, 2008, CPUC approved the El Casco System Project. Compliance review for pre-construction mitigation measures identified in the Mitigation Monitoring Plan as presented in the Final EIR is being conducted by CPUC. This plan ensures that the approved project will be conducted as defined, and that all adopted mitigation measures and Applicant Proposed Measures will be implemented in order that effects on the environment do not exceed those described in the Final EIR. CPUC Notices to Proceed will be issued for each project component, as requested by SCE, after compliance with pre-construction mitigation requirements is satisfied by SCE. A CPUC Environmental Monitor will monitor construction activities to ensure that they are conducted in accordance with the approved mitigation measures and permit conditions. Reports documenting this monitoring activity are available here.

For Additional Information

The CPUC, through its Environmental Review Team and per CEQA requirements, is conducting the environmental review process for the El Casco System Project. To request additional information or to comment on the Supplemental Draft EIR, please contact us by project email, fax, or phone, as follows:

Project Email: elcasco@aspeneg.com
Project Fax and Voicemail: (888) 222-5783

The CPUC's Project Manager is:

Juralynne Mosley, CPUC Project Manager
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
Tel. (415) 703-2210
Fax (415) 703-2200
Email: jbm@cpuc.ca.gov
   

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