In April, we learned that PG&E had submitted a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to the US Fish and Wildlife Service covering Operations and Maintenance activities through the 9-county Bay Area. The proposed HCP would be good for 30 years. It covers a vast area of 400,000 acres and would allow “incidental take” permits for 32 federally listed species. In exchange for damaging habitat or individuals of these species, PG&E proposes to provide funds to acquire and restore similar habitat (within the 9 counties), based on a set formula.
With a very short time to comment on the federal Environmental Assessment, we engaged the law firm of Shute Mihaly and Weinberger to provide technical comments. We are now awaiting the response by US Fish and Wildlife.
One of our biggest concerns is that the HCP will allow replacement of the PG&E Line 109 gas pipeline running directly through Edgewood Park’s serpentine grasslands, without public review or consideration of alternatives. Any disturbance to these sensitive habitats cannot be adequately restored or mitigated. Since there is a feasible alternative that would avoid damaging the park, we will be actively working – now and for the next 30 years – to ensure the long-term protection of Edgewood’s irreplaceable habitats.
We expect another opportunity for public input within the next 6 months. Stay tuned!