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Pilots Cite Environmental Concerns To Block Power Plant

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After previously joining arms with local residents and environmental groups to halt a similar proposal, the California Pilots Association is citing pilot-specific environmental concerns in its fight against the proposed construction of a power plant near a non-towered California airport. Speaking for some 5,000 pilots in the California Pilots Association (CPA), Andy Wilson told the Contra Costa Times that the proposed Mariposa Energy Project power plant would produce an oxygen-poor plume of contaminants and hot ammonia "that could affect engine operation or the pilot's ability to see." The proposal would put a power plant roughly 2.7 miles south of Byron Airport, a county-operated field that sees traffic from ultralights through corporate jets, along with glider and skydiving operations. The pilots have sought the influence of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to draw attention to the "health hazards" they say would also come into play, due to the proposed 200-megawatt gas-fired plant's emissions.

The power plant is one of 31 under consideration statewide, according to the California Energy Commission. The CPA successfully worked with other groups to previously halt construction of a power plant proposed for a location about 1.5 miles south of Hayward Executive Airport.

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