Manzanar Committee Calls On Inyo County To Shut Door On Large-Scale Renewable Energy Facilities In Owens Valley

Looking east from the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site. The floor of the Owens Valley, along with the
Inyo Mountains in the background, are visible. But this view could be destroyed by a massive solar energy generating
station, proposed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy National Park Service

The latest development regarding the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR), a 1,200-acre (approximately 1.8 square mile) solar energy generating facility that would be built adjacent to the Manzanar National Historic Site, is a step backward for the Owens Valley. The County of Inyo appears to be moving very quickly towards opening up vast swaths of land, including a large portion of the Owens Valley where the SOVSR would be built, to large-scale renewable energy projects.

The following are the Manzanar Committee’s comments, written by Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, that were submitted to the County of Inyo’s Planning Department regarding their Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDA), as defined in their 2013 Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment, which you can read at: http://inyoplanning.org/projects/REGPA/Documents.htm.


Planning Department
County of Inyo
P.O. Drawer L
Independence, CA 92526-0611

The Manzanar Committee, which sponsors the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk programs, and has played a key role in the preservation, protection and creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site, is vehemently opposed to any development that would interfere with the operation, goals and purpose of the Manzanar NHS, including forever marring its view shed. As such, we strongly oppose Inyo County’s Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDA), as defined in your 2013 Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment, which would open the door to large-scale renewable energy projects in the Owens Valley.

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Owens Valley Resident Criticizes LA Times’ Support Of LADWP’s Proposed Solar Facility Near Manzanar

On January 2, 2014, the Los Angeles Times published an unsigned editorial in support of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposal to build a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility adjacent to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

You can read their editorial at: A Solar Array Won’t Hurt The Mood At Manzanar.

Daniel Pritchett, an Owens Valley resident, submitted they following response to the Times’ editorial shortly after it was published. However, the Times has apparently chosen not to publish it, so he has submitted it to us for publication.


Daniel Pritchett
(click to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Daniel Pritchett

A recent editorial argued in support of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) proposed two-square mile solar facility adjacent to Manzanar in the middle of one of the most scenic and historic parts of Owens Valley. The editorial asserted that the need for sustainable energy outweighed the objections of the Manzanar Committee. Ignored were objections of Owens Valley Paiutes and virtually everyone else in the Valley.

However unjust the means used by Los Angeles to take over Owens Valley a century ago, it was at least plausible to argue that the city had exhausted its water resources and needed more if its growth were to continue. Today, it cannot be argued that Los Angeles has exhausted its solar resources and has no choice but to go to Owens Valley. DWP’s proposal is simply business as usual: take advantage of Owens Valley. Outsource the impacts and reap the benefits in L.A.

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LA Times Shows Indifference, Shortsightedness By Supporting LADWP’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch

On January 2, 2014, the Los Angeles Times published an unsigned editorial in support of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposal to build a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility adjacent to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

You can read their editorial at: A Solar Array Won’t Hurt The Mood At Manzanar.

The Manzanar Committee submitted the following response to the Times’ editorial shortly after it was published, but they have apparently chosen not to publish it. As such, we are publishing it ourselves, and making it available to any publication that would like to print it.

The following is an official statement by the Manzanar Committee, written by Co-Chair Bruce Embrey.


Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey
spoke out against LADWP’s proposed
solar farm near Manzanar at a
meeting in Downtown Los Angeles
on November 16, 2013.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Ellen Endo/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee is surprised and disappointed that the Los Angeles Times editorial board supports the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposal to build the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR), adjacent to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Contrary to the Times’ assertion, the SOVSR is not a quiet solar array nestled out of sight in the high desert. Instead, it will be a massive, two-square mile, or 1,200 acre, industrial facility with more than 1,000,000 solar panels. It will take years to build, disrupt the entire area, and dramatically alter the existing landscape. It is an ill-conceived project that will damage, not only the local environment, but the rich cultural, social and political history of the area as well.

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Manzanar Defiled By The DWP

Dr. Arthur A. Hansen, delivered the keynote address at the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 26, 2008.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

On January 2, the Los Angeles Times published an unsigned editorial supporting the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposal to build a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility adjacent to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

You can read their editorial at: A Solar Array Won’t Hurt The Mood At Manzanar.

Dr. Arthur A. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of History and Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton penned a letter to the editor in response, which was published by the Times on January 4.

Hansen also submitted the letter to the Manzanar Committee for publication here, and you can read it below.

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