|Bottle Rock Power Plant – Aerial View |
(Courtesy Betsy Phillips)
After hearing two hours of arguments from Cobb residents opposing the measure, the Lake County Planning Commission on Thursday voted unanimously to extend a use permit to Bottle Rock Power (BRP) to operate existing geothermal wells in Cobb for the next 30 years.
Ten of the 11 Cobb residents who spoke at the meeting opposed the extension. They complained of the foul odor and health risks of hydrogen sulfide fumes, the low but annoying sound that can reverberate through the valley, possible liability issues the county might face, and conflicts of interest with county staff personnel who field complaints from residents while at the same time apparently working to support the permit extension.
Before the procession of frustrated Cobb residents to the speakers' pulpit began, Community Development Director Rick Coel and senior deputy county counsel Robert Bridges both reminded the speakers to confine their remarks to the permit extension of the existing geothermal steam field on High Valley Road, and to avoid lapsing into areas like previous expansion permits or other issues over which the county has jurisdiction.