Acton Takes Action Logo


Acton Takes Action | March 10, 2024 – Today, Ruthie Brock, Chair of the Acton Takes Action Community Task Force (ATA), sent out an activity report email to bring everyone up-to-date as to what is happening in our fight to prevent lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) facilities from being developed and built in Acton. If you didn't receive the email, read on for the full report covering the following topics and events:

  • LA County Dept. of Regional Planning (DRP) Battery Storage Ordinance Development Update
  • California Energy Commission (CEC) Workshop on BESS Safety
  • BOS Save Our Rural Town (SORT) Appeal Hearing Update
  • Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing: Examining the Risk: The Dangers of EV Fires for First Responders. Watch the Hearing!
  • Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing: Examining Fire Hazards: Lithium-ion Batteries and Other Threats to Fire Safety. Watch the Hearing!
  • Hecate Grid's Maathai facility: Location Discovered!
  • New BESS Player: Large Developer NextEra has Acton in its Crosshairs!
  • We Still Need to Raise Money for Our WAR CHEST Legal Fund!

Hello all you Acton Activists, Hecate Hecklers and BESS Bashers!

It’s time for another Acton Takes Action BESS update; here we go...

LA County Dept. of Regional Planning (DRP) Battery Storage Ordinance Development Update

Back in February, LA County Dept. of Regional Planning (DRP) began the process of developing an ordinance to process future battery storage projects.

Those of you who went to our appeal hearing in December may remember the Board of Supervisors voting to approve the development of this ordinance immediately following their vote against our appeal. Some of us may still be recovering from the tire tracks across our backs as our supervisor and her four friends threw us under the bus that day. I know I am! But I’m not bitter... no... I’m furious. But I’m feeling a little better since Election Day.

The Dept. of Regional Planning (DRP) team in charge of developing this BESS ordinance reached out to the Acton Town Council to ask if they would be willing to provide input on this ordinance and, of course, they replied they would.

ATC member Jacki Ayer (aka our transmission expert, environmental engineer, director of Save Our Rural Town (SORT) and filer of our Acton legal complaint in Superior Court) kindly invited me to be part of this process as well. I jumped at the opportunity! So, on February 12, 2024, we participated in a “listening session” via ZOOM video conference — WE talked and they “listened.”

It quickly became evident how little knowledge the DRP team had on BESS facilities and the risky, fire-prone lithium-ion battery technology they utilize. A young woman representing the County Counsel legal team had very big eyes through much of what we were saying. Jacki was a wealth of technical information, and I did my best to contribute on the fire risks and toxicity of the lithium-ion batteries. Our listening session lasted 2 hours and lots of information was provided to DRP.

ATA Chair, Ruthie Brock, Attends the California Energy Commission (CEC) Workshop on BESS Safety!

On February 23, 2024, I participated in a California Energy Commission (CEC) Staff Workshop on BESS Safety (So did one of the DRP ordinance development team members!). It was a good presentation and it was great to get confirmation of much of the information I had already researched. There were three panels comprised of experts; each panel presentation lasted 90 minutes and consisted of 4 experts. I was happy that the majority of comments made by these experts were voiced with sincere consideration for the safety of the projects and the concerns of the affected communities. The fire risks of lithium-ion batteries were acknowledged as was their toxicity. It was very validating of everything our community has been saying to LA County and their BESS ordinance development DRP team member heard it all as well... straight from the mouthes of the experts.

I was able to pose a question and asked, “Does the CEC recognize that lithium-ion batteries in BESS projects are the reason for pushback from communities, and do they believe an alternate technology should be utilized?" Their reply was that they are funding research for alternative battery technology. Hallelujah!

Please watch the video of the California Energy Commission (CEC) Battery Energy Storage System Safety Workshop. The entire Workshop is well worth watching; of special interest is the panel session discussion starting at about the 49-minute mark into the video.

ATC Sends Letter to Supervisor Barger for LACoBOS December 19, 2023, SORT Appeal Hearing Clarification and Substantiation Request

The Acton Town Council just composed a letter to Supervisor Barger requesting that several comments made at the December 19, 2023, Board of Supervisors Appeal Hearing be substantiated. Several comments by LACoFD Fire Chief Marrone left us feeling that while he has sincere concern for our residents, he may be receiving incorrect or inadequate information on lithium-ion battery risks. We will ask that his statements be substantiated or retracted from the hearing record.

A member of LA County Legal Counsel also made a statement for which proof must be provided when she said that several other counties have used the comparison of a BESS to a distribution facility in their approval process. Since we can find no evidence of this, the Acton Town Council is asking that Counsel provide their information source or retract the statement from the record as well.

The December 19, 2023, appeal hearing record will be evidence in our legal case, so they must prove their statements or strike them.

Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing: Examining the Risk: The Dangers of EV Fires for First Responders. (Watch the hearing video.)

Here’s some exciting news... we are actually getting some traction at the federal level to shine a light on LITHIUM-ion battery dangers!

We reached out once again to our congressman, Mike Garcia, and were booked for a video conference with his legislative director and assistant. Jacki Ayer (SORT), myself, and our two local transmission experts participated in this meeting where they could relay their concerns with the location of Hecate Grid's Humidor BESS facility threatening the safety of the power grid for Southern California, and beyond. We are so fortunate to not only have Jacki’s transmission expertise, but these two other highly experienced gentlemen who came forward to lend theirs as well! Someday, I will proudly reveal their names, but for now they have chosen to fly under the radar so I need to respect their wishes.

Armed with this concerning information, Congressman Garcia recently went to Washington and participated in a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing for Science, Space and Technology. The hearing subject was “Examining The Dangers of EV fires for First Responders." Representative Garcia was able to pivot off of the “EV dangers” and direct the hearing focus for a moment to our BESS which utilizes the same lithium-ion batteries as the EVs. Congressman Garcia even mentioned Acton and Agua Dulce by name as he directed questions to the expert witness, San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey. We are very grateful to Rep. Garcia for being our voice at this Congressional hearing.

Please watch the video of the Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing Session: "Examining the Risk: The Dangers of EV Fires for First Responders." Rep. Garcia is introduced at time marker 44:55, but the entire hearing is well worth watching.

Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing: Examining Fire Hazards: Lithium-ion Batteries and Other Threats to Fire Safety. (Watch the hearing video.)

On February 15, 2024, an earlier Homeland Security subcommittee (Emergency Management and Technology) met to discuss “Examining Fire Hazards: Lithium-ion Batteries and Other Threats to Fire Safety." In this hearing, the focus was on lithium-ion fire incidents involving EV and micro-mobility devices and the alarming loss of life in New York from the resulting fires and toxic gases. They are garnering support for House Bill H.R. 1797 – Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-ion Batteries Act, introduced by Congressman Ritchie Torres (D) NY. This Bill is in response to the lack of regulation of lithium-ion batteries and their use in E-bikes and E-scooters which have caused many lives to be lost and great property loss in the past three years. 18 people died in New York in 2023 alone from incidents involving these lithium-ion powered e-bikes and e-scooters, with most of the deaths a result of the toxic gases that are released during the fires.

At this hearing there were four experts: three representing fire agencies and one from United Laboratories Fire Research Institute. Their testimony shines a light on the very real (and finally revealed to our government) dangers of lithium-ion battery technology. Our government has been very busy pushing, supporting, and passing funding for the Green Energy initiative without fully understanding the consequences of some of these battery storage deployments. I believe eyes are beginning to open in our federal government and also with the CEC at our state level as well.

Please watch the video of the Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing Session: "Examining Fire Hazards: Lithium-Ion Batteries and Other Threats to Fire Safety." Again, the entire hearing is well worth watching.

ATC & ATA now Know where the Hecate "Maathai" Facility will be Located if Approved!

We have always been aware that Hecate Grid had a total of three BESS projects proposed for siting in Acton: Humidor, Flea Flicker, and Maathai.

We were certain of where Humidor and Flea Flicker would be sited, but had not been able to locate the proposed site of the Maathai facility. Recently we identified a 40-acre parcel just east of the Vincent Substation off of Angeles Forest Highway and north of Hillside Dr. that sold to an LLC in late 2023, which we were then able to confirm as tied to Hecate. Bingo!. Maathai’s location is now known.

A New Player has Acton in it's Crosshairs! Large BESS Developer, NextEra, Trying to Buy up Property in Acton.

We also are now painfully aware that ANOTHER large developer, NextEra, has been trying to buy up properties in the very same area as Hecate's Maathai facility. As of yet, we are not sure if they have acquired any property but it wouldn’t be for lack of trying!

So now we have Hecate, Avantus (developer of the huge Angeleno BESS) and NextEra – all with Acton in their crosshairs. That’s a potential of FIVE BESS PROJECTS providing 2,285 Million Watts of stored energy, NOT COUNTING whatever NextEra plans to add to the mix!

No bueno, folks. We need to pray that our government... federal, state, and LOCAL... come to their senses and send these projects packing – like perhaps to the open desert where they won’t expose residents to danger.

ATA Continues to Collect WAR CHEST DONATIONS to Fund Our Legal Fees... We Need Everyone's Help!

Thank you all for being in the trenches with me in the battle to keep Humidor and other BESS out of our community! We still need to add money to our War Chest legal fund!

If you haven’t donated, please help our community out by doing your part! And, if you donated earlier and have not reissued a replacement check for the prior one that was rejected by Hanson Bridgett LLP, please... please... PLEASE make out a new check made payable to SAVE OUR RURAL TOWN and mail it in as soon as possible to the address below.

Make the new check payable to SAVE OUR RURAL TOWN (please do NOT make payable to Acton Takes Action). Save Our Rural Town (SORT) is the filer of our lawsuit and will collect the WAR CHEST donations and then make direct payment to the law firm of Hanson Bridgett LLP on our behalf.

Please MAIL donation checks with your Donation Check Form* to:
Acton Takes Action
3807 Sierra Hwy Suite 6-4397
Acton CA 93510

(Again, please do NOT make payable to Acton Takes Action)

Please CLICK HERE to download and print the WAR CHEST CHECK DONATION FORM with complete instructions.

*NOTE: If you are ONLY reissuing your donation check, you do NOT need to download, print, nor fill out a new donation form. Ruthie Brock will update your original form and then send you an email confirmation once she receive your new check.

Thank you everyone!

Ruthie Brock
Chair, Acton Takes Action

Not getting ATA News & Updates? CLICK HERE to sign-up today to receive news, updates, activity reports, alerts, and more. Don't miss out on all the news about Acton's Anti-BESS opposition efforts!