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No DWP Power Station Next to Marquez Charter School

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I strongly OPPOSE the DWP’s proposed power distribution station next to Marquez Charter School.  The proposed power station site at 16931 Marquez Avenue, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 is located immediately south of Marquez Charter School.  Specifically, the site borders the entire length of the southern fence of the lower playground.   

Marquez Charter School currently serves 600+ students, ages 4-11, from kindergarten through fifth grade.  These youngsters mostly come from the Marquez Knolls, Highlands, Las Casas flats, Pacific View Estates, Castellemare, and Beinvenida Bluffs areas of Pacific Palisades.  The remaining students come from other parts of Los Angeles.  Marquez Charter is run by 28 teachers; 27 instructional aides and teachers assistants; 15 administrative staff; and a long list of parent volunteers.  A power station right next to Marquez Charter School raises serious safety and health concerns for the approximately 700 individuals who consider the school their second home for 7-10 hours a day, five days a week, year after year.       

The risk of explosion and fire at power substations throughout the nation is well documented.  They can be caused by being overloaded, equipment failure, or other reasons.  A potential explosion and fire at the proposed power station can easily spread to the immediately adjacent Marquez Charter School.  Should a fire spread during regular school hours, this would imminently endanger the lives of 600+ youngsters and nearly 100 teachers, staff and volunteers.  Should a fire spread during the morning school drop-off or afternoon pick-up hours, evacuating the area would be utter chaos, considering the traffic bottleneck that tends to build up in front of the school during these times.  Given the hundreds of lives at stake, the real risk of explosion and fire is unacceptable.

Just as concerning, the proposed power station site is known to be geologically unstable and prone to landslides.  Slope failure leading to structural damage can be triggered by a number of events – heavy rainfall, earthquake, etc.  In turn, either can yield to dangerous fires and explosions.  Some may question the probability of slope failure at a properly remediated site or structural damage to a new “state of the art” power station.  Nonetheless, one cannot overlook the fact that should such an incident occur – perhaps triggered by the next big earthquake – the potential consequences could be catastrophic.  Again, given the lives of 600+ youngsters and nearly 100 teachers, staff and volunteers at stake, even the slightest risk is unacceptable.

Human health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from power stations have been studied since the 1970s.  These studies have found a consistent association between EMF exposure and increased instances of certain illnesses.  Research has also found that the closer children are to power stations, the more exposure they have.  Children’s anatomy and physiology are different than that of adults.  Thus, they may be particularly vulnerable to EMF health impacts.  The California Department of Health and World Health Organization have concluded that EMFs are linked to an increase in childhood leukemia, brain tumors, birth defects and lymphoma.  The DWP’s own website acknowledges, “childhood studies have reported a[n] association between estimates [of EMFs] and certain types of cancer.”  DWP further advises people to “limit your exposure [to]” and “increase[e] your distance from EMF sources.”  Given all this, knowingly subjecting Marquez Charter School’s 600+ youngsters and nearly 100 teachers, staff and volunteers to daily EMF exposure is unconscionable.

For all the above reasons, I strongly oppose the DWP’s proposed power distribution station right next to Marquez Charter School.


Coalition of Palisadians to Keep Marquez Charter Safe


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