The City Council took baby steps to buy the land beneath its water quality treatment plant by the Lauro Reservoir from the federal government as part of a bureaucratic dance that would enable City Hall to, once again, tap the hydroelectric potential of water rushing into the facility from Gibraltar Reservoir via the Mission Tunnel. City engineers estimate that the energy created is sufficient to power roughly 200 homes, though without hydrocarbon emissions associated with many power plants. The plant operated from 1985 to 1998, but the plug was pulled when the regulatory costs associated with its operation exceeded the revenues generated. By buying the land underneath the facility, city officials are confident they can legally bypass many of the regulatory burdens that made plant operation prohibitive. The council action only authorizes city water officials to begin negotiating the price of the land.


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