From the monthly archives: December 2011

By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors voted the approved the Centinela Solar Project after a lengthy public hearing.

The Centinela Solar Project CSE project, which includes the CSE Facility on private land and Gen-tie Line corridor through private property easements and federal lands managed by the BLM, is located south of Seeley, California, near Mount Signal and approximately 8 miles southwest of the City of El Centro.

Centinela Solar Energy has submitted an application for Conditional Use Permit. Construction and operation of a solar energy facility capable of generating up to 275 MW of non-thermal electrical energy as described in Permittee’s CUP Application. The solar energy facility would include photovoltaic modules, mounting structures, electrical wiring, inverters, transformers and AC electric collector system, project electric substation and ancillary facilities.

Ancillary facilities would include safety and security equipment, and operations and maintenance building, garage, water treatment building, a 200,000 gallon raw/fire water tank, a 2000,000 gallon treated water tank, evaporation ponds, septic system, parking, perimeter fencing, access gates, lighting system, access roads, fire protection including up to nine 10,000 gallon fire water thanks, and monitoring and control systems.

The Centinela Project is a $600 million dollar project and it’s expected to create 300 jobs during construction.

The Board voted 5-0 in favor of this project


U.S. Customs and Border Protection received an unmanned aircraft today, the fourth at National Air Security Operations Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Flights performed from this location will provide critical aerial surveillance to CBP border security personnel on the ground along the Southwest border.

The arrival of the Predator-B marks the second of two unmanned aircraft earmarked in the supplemental budget provisions identified in August 2010.

CBP’s unmanned aircraft systems operate under several FAA-approved Certificates of Authorization that enable CBP to deploy a UAS in the national airspace. On the southwest border, the first certificate allows access into Texas from Arizona to just west of the Big Bend border area. The second certificate enables CBP to launch and recover a UAS from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, and to operate along the entire Texas land border with Mexico, the coast, and over open water.

On the southwest border, CBP now operates a total of six Predator-B aircraft from Sierra Vista, and Corpus Christi. The missions from these two centers will allow CBP to deploy its unmanned aircraft from the eastern tip of California across the common Mexican land borders of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

CBP identified Arizona as a location for its ninth UAS because it will allow for the greatest support of the CBP Air and Marine Strategic Plan to secure the shared land border between U.S. and Mexico, and will allow for the most effective execution of counter-drug operations and Homeland Security missions.

Additionally, basing a fourth UAS in Sierra Vista will best posture CBP for rapid deployment throughout the southern tier of the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere. This operational capability increases CBP’s ability to provide disaster relief and humanitarian support in the Gulf Coast region.

Since the inception of the UAS program, CBP has flown more than 12,000 UAS hours in support of border security operations and CBP partners in disaster relief and emergency response, including various state governments and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The efforts of this program has led to the total seizure of approximately 46,600 pounds of illicit drugs and the detention of approximately 7,500 individuals suspected in engaging in illegal activity along the Southwest border.

For more information about and visual imagery of the UAS program, please visit:

( CBP Air and Marine )

( North Dakota Flooding video )

( North Dakota Flooding aerial video )

( CBP UAS Media )

(El Centro, CA)—For the first time in five years, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously 
approved the public agency’s operating budget for the following year. The plan provides for the delivery of water,
 energy and other essential services without rate increases for both water and energy ratepayers. The district’s 
budget plan serves as a strategic plan and operations guide. Total district revenues for 2012 are projected to be 
$588 million; this consists of $441 million in energy revenues and $147 million water revenues. Total expenses 
across the district are budgeted at $553 million; $423 million in energy expenses and $130 million water expenses.
 The budget plan includes operating programs, capital improvement plans, debt service requirements and staffing 
levels, which consider the increased cost pressures associated with economic, legislative and environmental laws 
and regulations. Other budget highlights: · The plan transitions to a fund accounting system for fiscal year 2012
 (a method of segregating resources into categories to identify source and use). · Anticipated Water Department 
revenues, from all sources, of $147 million; expenditures, for all operations and maintenance programs of $121 
million and debt service of $9 million. · Anticipated Energy Department revenues, from all sources, of $441 
million; projected power supply costs of $240 million; other operations and maintenance expenditures of $139 
million and debt service expenses of $44 million. · Capital Improvement Plans totaling $198 million; $35 million 
in water capital projects and $163 million in energy capital projects. · Estimated sales of 2,446,400 acre-feet 
of water and 3,215,900 megawatt-hours of energy.

El Centro Elks Lodge #1325 head trustee John Jordan (right center) presents a $1000 check to Sara Griffen (left center), Imperial Valley Food Bank director, in the organization’s warehouse on Wed., Dec. 21. Also present are (left to right) Gil Perez, Elks member, Bertie Allison, Elks lodge secretary, and Bill Caldwell, Food Bank Executive Board vice president. The Elks Lodge raised the funds through the participation of its members and the support of the community in its annual Crab Crack Dinner held on Nov. 18. Photo courtesy of El Centro Elks Lodge


Imperial Valley Food Bank update on urgent need for contributions
Imperial Valley Food Bank, 329 Applestill Road
10 a.m., Wed., Dec. 21
Gary Redfern, (760) 960-6079
The Imperial Valley Food Bank provides a vital service in helping local families have adequate nutritional food. Needs are especially great during the holiday season, yet it is also a time when contributions decline. On Dec. 21 Sara Griffen of the Food Bank will accept a donation from El Centro Elks Lodge #1325 and inform the community on how it can help the organization’s mission.
SAN DIEGO – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers performing southbound inspections at the San Ysidro port of entry yesterday intercepted $112,681 of hidden currency headed into Mexico.
On December 20, 2011, at about 10:45 a.m., CBP officers conducting inspections of travelers along interstate 5 southbound targeted a black Honda Accord for inspection. Two 20-year-old male U.S. citizens were in the car.
A CBP officer screened the vehicle with a currency/firearms detector dog and the canine alerted to the dashboard area of the vehicle.  Officers also utilized an x-ray imaging system that revealed anomalies within the dashboard and a fiber optic scope that showed packages in a non-factory compartment in the dash.
CBP officers discovered six cellophane wrapped packages of unreported currency, totally $112,500, within the compartment and discovered an additional $181 on the two men.
CBP officers seized the vehicle and $112,681 in U.S. currency, and turned both occupants over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Both men were booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
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