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.

Let me explain why.

Manzanar stands as a stark reminder to all Americans of both the fragility and the resilience of our country’s democratic traditions. In this sense, Manzanar is actually a monument to our Constitution, to civil rights and to our democratic way of life. We believe, especially with the creation of the Manzanar National Historic Site, that Manzanar is one of America’s premier civil rights landmarks.

To those of us whose families were incarcerated in Manzanar (or the other confinement sites), simply because of racism, war hysteria and economic greed, this small patch of desert is hallowed ground. Many Japanese Americans began life behind barbed wire. Others married, graduated and even enlisted to fight for their country. A quick, cursory examination of this period shows the forced removal and subsequent incarceration of our families shaped every aspect of Japanese American life during and after World War II.

The natural environment surrounding Manzanar is an indispensable element in understanding what those incarcerated in America’s concentration camps experienced. The fact that our government chose to incarcerate 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry—2/3rds of whom were American citizens—and to place them in remote, desolate, largely uninhabitable locations is key to understanding what our families and our community were subjected to. In fact, one of the key reasons Manzanar has been such a successful National Park is that the site was not marred by development and has remained largely untouched since World War II.

Every year, for the past 45 years, we have returned to Manzanar. We return to honor those who were incarcerated and to pay our respects to those who never did return to their home. We return to Manzanar to remind Americans that we are a strong country, capable of great things and able to right grave wrongs, and it is precisely because Manzanar is such a unique and powerful reminder of America’s strengths and weaknesses that we strongly urge the LADWP to consider alternate sites for this solar farm.

Bruce Embrey is Co-Chair of the Manzanar Committee. He writes from Los Angeles.

The Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to the proposed facility on August 16. To read our statement, click on: Manzanar Committee Denounces LADWP Proposal To Build 1,200-Acre Solar Ranch Near Manzanar.

Community members are urged to sign an online petition opposing the LADWP proposal. To view/sign the petition on Change.org, click on: Halt LADWP’s Plan To Build A 1,200-Acre Solar Energy Generating Station Adjacent to Manzanar National Historic Site.

To view/download/print a copy of this form letter, click on the image above.
(requires Adobe Reader software)

Community members are also strongly urged to send letters to LADWP in opposition to the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch. Letters should be addressed to:

Nadia Parker
Environmental Planning and Assessment
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
111 North Hope Street, Room 1044
Los Angeles, California 90012-2607

Comments may also be sent via e-mail, and should be addressed to Ms. Parker at nadia.parker@ladwp.com, or to Charles Holloway, at charles.holloway@ladwp.com.

To download a form letter that can be used, click on the image at right.

All letters and e-mails must be received by LADWP no later than 5:00 PM PST on December 20, 2013.

Those who would like to review the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project can read it on the web at: http://www.ladwp.com/envnotices.

For more information, please call the Manzanar Committee at (323) 662-5102, or send e-mail to info@manzanarcommittee.org.


Photos from LADWP Meeting In Los Angeles On Proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch

14 photos by Gann Matsuda and Ellen Endo. ©2013 Manzanar Committee. All rights reserved. Click on any photo to view a larger image, and to scroll through the gallery.

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Thank you to the Mono Lake Committee for mentioning this article on their blog.


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

  1. Nice article! I was at the meeting, and was moved by the comments made by the many communities affected by this project. If the DWP didn’t hear the 100% rejection of the project in the meeting for cultural, aesthetic and geographic reasons (putting a solar project in a valley- really???), I hope people continue to fight this issue.

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