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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Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey Calls On LADWP To Find Another Location For Solar Farm

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.
Photo: Ellen Endo/Manzanar Committee

On November 16, 2013, a meeting was held at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in Downtown Los Angeles where LADWP officials detailed their plans for the proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch.

This project would be a 1,200-acre solar energy generating station built in close proximity to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

At the meeting, members of the community, both here in the Los Angeles area, as well as people who travelled from the Owens Valley, spoke out—all opposed the project, as did Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey.

The following are his remarks about the proposed facility from the meeting, along with selected photos.


by Bruce Embrey

First, I’d like to thank LADWP for holding this meeting here in Los Angeles. There are thousands of Angelenos who care deeply about what happens at Manzanar. I would also like to thank the LADWP for their efforts to expand the use of renewable energy sources and get Los Angeles off of fossil fuels. The Manzanar Committee, however, would like to urge the LADWP to consider alternate sites.

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Manzanar Committee Denounces LADWP Proposal To Build 1,200-Acre Solar Ranch Near Manzanar

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

LOS ANGELES — On August 16, the Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposed 1,200-acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which would be constructed east of the Owens River, but in a direct line of sight with the Manzanar National Historic Site, which lies to the immediate west.

The proposed site would generate electricity that would be delivered to LADWP customers in Los Angeles. But generating that energy would result in the destruction of Manzanar’s historic solid waste dump, which has not undergone an archeological study. Equally important, the site’s approximately one million solar panels, along with buildings, large equipment, transformers, a substation, transmission lines, and much more, would destroy a significant portion of the historic landscape surrounding Manzanar National Historic Site.

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