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AES visited the AP Environmental Studies class last week. Read a student’s account of their presentation.
By Benni McLaughlin
Amid the picturesque beaches and scenic harbors in the South Bay sits one grey, industrial stain. The AES Power Plant is a sore thumb in our beautiful city and demolishing it and redeveloping its land would only lead to a brighter future for Redondo Beach.
The power plant is, above all, a waste of valuable space. Redeveloping the land that the power plant sits on would open up the land from Redondo to the pier and make it much more desirable for businesses and tourists. Redeveloping the area would lead to great economic gain for Redondo Beach.
On top of the increased tourism and tax revenue, the power plant depresses property value in the area by an estimated 40% (Building a Better Redondo). If the plant was demolished, Property values in Redondo would rise dramatically, leading to a better Redondo for everyone.
Redeveloping the area would also beautify Redondo. To put it bluntly, the plant is an eyesore. The power lines that run from the plant up 190th are also unsightly. The removal of the plant would improve the image of the city vastly.
The plant is directly responsible for the death of a lot of marine life. According to Building a Better Redondo, pollution kills an estimated 2.5 billion marine animals per year. Tearing down the plant would greatly help heal the ocean from pollutants.
The plant also pollutes the air, leading to lower air quality for residents of the entire South Bay. The Los Angeles Basin is not known for its air quality, but tearing down the plant will be a step in the right direction.
In the long run, demolishing the power plant will help small business, the environment, and the city as a whole. For those who say the plant is a part of history, why not make a new, more prosperous history, starting with tearing down the plant.
The plant was first constructed in 1906 and underwent several remodels since then. Read High Tide’s “History of the power plant.”
By Anthony Leong
It’s no secret: the facilities that process the fossil fuels which power our city do not enhance the landscape.
The hideous, industrial machines may keep our city churning but there is no doubt they make things look a little less idyllic. For this reason, it seems a number of people would like to see the power plant torn down. In light of the fact that much of the power plant is no longer in operation, this doesn’t seem like such an unreasonable request. Admittedly, it is a little depressing that the ocean is blocked by the structure for a significant portion of Pacific Coast Highway.
But here’s some food for thought: maybe the unsightly tangle of metal and pipes is a good thing. Maybe the ocean rendered invisible by this fossil fuel machine is a good metaphor for reality.
The fact is this: while the plant may be ugly, it is an important reminder that the things which must be done to maintain this society whose principal pastime is to consume are, too, quite ugly. It may not be readily apparent, but a price is being paid every time we turn on a faucet, start a car, and buy a lunch whose mass is 50% trash 20 minutes after being purchased. The cars that literally inundate the roads and highways of Los Angeles every single second from morning to night come at a price that all Los Angelean drivers seem very keen to forget about.
Some lyrics from a song about environmentalism by Gotye come to mind: “While the signs were clear they had no idea. You just get used to living in fear–or give up when you can’t even picture your future.”
To be frank, the state of things at the moment isn’t something I anticipate will change anytime soon. As long as we are a society of consumers, however, I don’t think the price our planet pays should be swept under the rug. We may live in paradise here, but it is a paradise beneath a sea of oil–and however much justification people offer, when that sea has vanished, things will not look the same.
So the next time you or your mother are driving down PCH on the way to school, take a good look at that hideous power plant, because as five percent of the world’s population consumes a quarter of its energy, what is happening here in America is no prettier.
The organization “Building a Better Redondo” suggests a sustainable alternative to the plant. Here’s High Tide’s overview.