Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Morgan: Insist on better security

On Thursday, July 26, I had the good fortune to be able to attend a presentation at the Calpine Visitor Center concerning the future of the Calpine operation at The Geysers. It really is encouraging to see through a slide show presentation as well as hear from local residents in the audience how Calpine responds to needs within the community – be it a tremor or an unpleasant odor permeating the air.

Without a doubt, the biggest problem at The Geysers is one which has nothing to do with steam, but everything to do with safety. The problem? In a word, Securitas. Unfortunately, Securitas is still handling clearance and traffic security. That means the security operation at The Geysers is more cosmetic than it is real. In a post-9/11 world, this kind of bogus operation should not be tolerated.

One can only hope the security mess at The Geysers is NOT typical of other power plant operations across our county. If it is, we have a national problem – not just a local one. But, I believe the good people of Lake County will NOT continue to tolerate the cosmetic brand of security promoted by Securitas. No, I believe they will demand security be responsive to their needs.

It is understandable that Calpine may be too preoccupied with getting out of bankruptcy to notice ALL the Securitas deficiencies. Calpine is not a security company, but an award-winning supplier of geothermal power. Therefore, it is up to the good citizens of Lake County and all those who care about the area to take proactive action.

What kind of action? Demand that all three guard locations be linked through a network and have traffic records accessible via a database at the click of a mouse button. No more of this ridiculous reconciling and filing of handwritten traffic records eight to 24 hours after-the-fact. And, there should be a clearance backup procedure to make sure no contractor scheduled to work within The Geysers is denied access.

Here are some folks who need to hear your concerns:

  • Ed Robey, Lake County District 1 Supervisor, P.O. Box 796, Lower Lake, CA 95457.

  • Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. There is also a comment line: (202) 282-8495.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Capital Bldg., Sacramento, CA 95814.

  • Fox News Channel. Call 1-888-369-4762. (Be sure to thank Fox for coming to Middletown for "Middletown Days" in 2006.) Encourage them to send a camera crew to The Geysers to report back to the American people what they see.

The world's largest geothermal operation deserves the best security money can buy for its employees, guests and property owners. But, they don’t have it. They have Securitas, instead. The Geysers deserves better. Let’s help them get it.

Lamar Morgan lives in Hidden Valley Lake.


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