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HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA-Two Huntington Beach generators will be powered back up in September, after sitting idle for more than five years. The agreement, which was reached by AES Corp. and the city, has sparked a storm of protest from local residents.

The project had received state approval earlier this year, when California was scrambling to save itself from an impending energy crisis. However, city officials have fought the project for more than eight months, fearing its potential health hazards and environmental risks.

After weeks of negotiations, the city did manage to win some concessions, including an agreement by AES to install monitoring equipment within 30 days of bringing the two generating units online, as well as approval from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to give the city $50,000 to monitor pollution at the plant. In addition, a high-emission peaker unit will only be fired up if there is a real threat of a blackout. This third unit will be permanently closed in October 2002 if it is not upgraded to meet air quality requirements.

Many local residents are angry about the agreement, since they feel the generators could cause environmental and health problems in the community.

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