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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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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NBC4 In Los Angeles Reports On Proposed LADWP Solar Ranch Near Manzanar

Former Manzanar and Heart Mountain incarceree Jack Kunitomi was interviewed by NBC Los Angeles reporter Gordon Tokumatsu
regarding LADWP’s proposal to build a 1,200-acre solar generating
station near Manzanar National Historic Site.
Photo courtesy NBC Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — During KNBC-TV 4’s NBC4 News at 5 PM broadcast on November 15, correspondent Gordon Tokumatsu reported on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) proposal to build the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch in close proximity to the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, and his uncle, Jack Kunitomi, one of the 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry (and their immigrant parents) who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II, were interviewed by Tokumatsu.

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Community Urged To Speak Out Against Proposed Solar Energy Generating Station 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 — A public information meeting will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 10:00 AM, at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles where members of the community are urged to speak out against a proposed solar energy generating facility that would be built near Manzanar National Historic Site.

The LADWP’s proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project is a 200-megawatt solar energy facility that would consist of solar photovoltaic panel modules and associated infrastructure. The approximately 1,200-acre project site is 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.

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