State energy officials got an earful from hundreds North County residents who packed an emotional hearing Monday to discuss a proposed power plant in Carlsbad.
The 558-megawatt plant, designed to eventually replace the older Encina Power Station, would be built at the same location on Carlsbad Boulevard.
The state Energy Commission will hear testimony from experts and public comments over three days while they consider the proposal.
On Monday, the opponents seemed to outnumber proponents – especially when Carlsbad resident Stacey Quartarone told the commission about her teenaged son who died seven weeks ago from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
"Would you allow this power plant to be built if you lost your own child?" asked Stacey Quartarone while her husband John held up a large picture of their son.
A Carlsbad High School student who loved to play sports, Chase Quartarone died on Dec. 14 from a cancer that attacked his lungs. His parents, who say three other boys in the same neighborhood were just diagnosed with lymphoma, blame the nearby power plant.
The current plant creates “mercury, lead and a variety of other pollutants that cause cancer to rear its ugly head," said John Quartarone after the hearing.
However, the company proposing the plan says the new plant will be better for the environment.
“There are many reasons why people get cancer,” David Lloyd said. “I don’t believe it's the power plant and I live up the hill from here too.”
Lloyd represents NRG West, the company that owns the 95-acre Encina site, new project plus a second one later will allow them to eventually remove the existing power plant complex on the western edge of their property.
"If we're going to burn gas let's burn it efficiently and cleanly," Lloyd added.
After the series of hearings ends Thursday, the commission will consider the proposal. A decision on the project could come sometime later this year.