Manzanar Committee Renews Its Call On Inyo County To Protect Manzanar, Owens Valley From Large Scale Renewable Energy Development

Inyo County may still be considering opening the marked area on this map, much of which is visible fron the Manzanar National Historic Site, to large-scale solar energy development.
(click above to view larger map)

LOS ANGELES — On February 3, the Manzanar Committee reiterated its opposition to any large-scale, industrial renewable energy development in the Owens Valley, especially that which would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site. Further, the Committee renewed their call on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to protect Manzanar and the Owens Valley from such development in perpetuity in their final Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the County’s Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA).

The REGPA, which is in the hands of the County’s Board of Supervisors for final approval of its PEIR, defines Solar Energy Development Areas where large-scale renewable energy generating facilities could be built in Inyo County.

With Manzanar and the Owens Valley already facing a serious threat from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR), a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility that would be built adjacent to Manzanar, Inyo County appears to be favoring opening the door to additional industrial solar energy development in the vicinity.

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

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

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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