Manzanar Committee Calls On Inyo County To Protect Owens Valley In Perpetuity From Large-Scale Solar Energy Development

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On July 8, 2014, the Manzanar Committee submitted its official comments to the Inyo County Planning Department and Board of Supervisors in response to their Notice of Preparation for the Program Environmental Impact Report for their 2013 Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA).

In their initial draft of this amendment, the County would have opened the Owens Valley, from Independence south to Lone Pine, east of U.S. Highway 395, to large-scale renewable energy facilities that would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site. Along with tribal organizations in the Owens Valley and the Owens Valley Committee, the Manzanar Committee fought to have this area removed from consideration, to protect both the Owens Valley and its residents, along with the Manzanar National Historic Site.

After months of political pressure, the Board of Supervisors removed the Owens Valley from consideration as part of the 2013 REGPA in their latest draft (June 2014), which is now moving to the next stage, the drafting of a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR).

Our comments for the PEIR below, written by Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, closely mirror our initial comments on the 2013 REGPA.

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Manzanar Committee Mourns The Passing Of Long-Time Activist Yuri Kochiyama

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee expresses its deepest sympathies to the family of Yuri Kochiyama, a long-time civil rights and community activist in the African American, Latino, Native American and Asian American communities, who passed away on June 1, at the age of 93.

On June 2, the Kochiyama family released the following statement:

Life-long activist Yuri Kochiyama passed away peacefully in her sleep in Berkeley, California on the morning of Sunday, June 1, at the age of 93. Over a span of more than fifty years, Yuri worked tirelessly for social and political change through her activism in support of social justice and civil and human rights movements.

Yuri was born on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, California, and spent two years in a concentration camp in Jerome, Arkansas during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City and married Bill Kochiyama, a decorated veteran of the all-Japanese American 442nd combat unit of the U.S. Army.

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Manzanar Committee Applauds Inyo County For Taking Important Step Towards Protecting Manzanar, Owens Valley From Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development

For a printable copy of this statement,
click on the image above.
(requires Adobe Reader software to view/print.

LOS ANGELES — On May 6, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move their Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA) to the next step, which will be to draft a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

The amendment no longer includes the Owens Valley as a “Renewable Energy Development Area,” (REDA) where large-scale, industrial solar energy facilities would be allowed.

The Manzanar Committee joined with the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley, the Bishop Paiute Tribe, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Owens Valley Committee and residents of the Owens Valley and Los Angeles in opposing the REGPA when it was passed on to the Board of Supervisors by the Inyo County Planning Commission on February 26, primarily because much of the Owens Valley was included as a REDA.

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Inyo County and Los Angeles Groups Urge Caution, Continued Vigilance In Fight Against Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development In Owens Valley – VIDEO

View from the crowd during an April 1, 2014 press conference, held on the steps of the Inyo County Courthouse, Independence, California, where concerned residents of Inyo County and Los Angeles called for substantial changes to Inyo County’s
proposed 2013 Renewable Energy General Management Plan.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Andrew Morin

On April 1, 2014, concerned residents of Inyo County and Los Angeles held a press conference before the Inyo County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to continue their discussions on their 2013 Renewable Energy General Management Plan (REGPA) that could have devastating impacts on the Owens Valley, including tremendous adverse effects on the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

For more information on the press conference, and what transpired at the Board of Supervisors meeting, check out: Inyo County and Los Angeles Groups Urge Caution, Continued Vigilance In Fight Against Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development In Owens Valley.

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