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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Community Songfest Fetes Retiring Manzanar NHS Superintendent Les Inafuku – Photos

Retiring Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Les Inafuku, shown here during the Community Songfest, at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles
on December 15, 2013.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

LOS ANGELES — On December 15, a “Community Songfest,” honoring retiring Manzanar National Historic Site Superintendent Les Inafuku, and to raise funds for the reconstruction of Manzanar’s residential Block 14, which will include barracks, a mess hall, and more, was held at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

Sponsored by the Friends of Manzanar, the event featured musical performances by twelve different solo performers, duos or groups, including former Nisei Week Queens Lauren Kinkade Wong, and Erika Mariko Olsen.

Also featured were performances by Mary Kageyama Nomura, the “Songbird of Manzanar,” and folk singer/one-man band Ken Koshio.

Selected photos from the event, which was co-sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, may be viewed below.

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Petition Drive Demands Halt To LADWP’s Plan To Build Solar Energy Facility Adjacent To 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 December 14, the Manzanar Committee announced that it has launched an online petition drive calling on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to halt its efforts to build their proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, a 200-megawatt solar energy generating facility that would consist of solar photovoltaic panel modules and associated infrastructure. The approximately 1,200-acre project site would be located on City of Los Angeles-owned property east of the Owens River, but in a direct line of sight with the Manzanar National Historic Site, which lies to the immediate west, in California’s Owens Valley.

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Proposed Solar Ranch Near Manzanar: Another Threat To Japanese American Historic Sites

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

by Bruce Embrey

LOS ANGELES — After decades of annual Pilgrimages, lobbying and finally, an act of Congress, the Manzanar National Historic Site was created in 1992. The first of ten War Relocation Authority concentration camps built to incarcerate more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, Manzanar became the first site of conscience that tells the story of this shameful chapter of American History.

But not even ten years after the grand opening of the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site in 2004, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) wants to build a 1,200-acre, 200-megawatt industrial solar facility within a stones throw of Manzanar. This industrial energy plant is widely opposed by many in Owens Valley, including the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Owens Valley Committee, and other concerned organizations, individuals and businesses. All have called for LADWP not to build the power plant next to the Manzanar NHS.

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