April 1 Press Conference Will Demand Changes To Inyo County’s Proposed Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment And To Stop LADWP’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch

The following is a press release from the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, the Manzanar Committee, and the Owens Valley Committee.

View looking west, towards Manzanar, from the Inyo Mountains. Before and “after” simulation of what the view would
look like if the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch is built.
Photo courtesy Bill Helmer

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Concerned Residents of Inyo County and Los Angeles will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 12:00 PM at the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, California (see map below), to express their hope for significant changes in Inyo County’s proposed Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar “Ranch” (SOVSR).

The press conference will take place before the Inyo County Board of Supervisors weigh in on the REGPA that afternoon, beginning at 1:30 PM.

Residents will express their support for a plan which eliminates current Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDA’s) from the plan, focusing instead on efforts which:

  • Protect our county’s wild and cultural resources and tourist based economy, and;
  • Develop locally controlled renewable energy located within Inyo County communities, which serve the energy needs of Inyo County.

“The Owens Valley Committee applauds the steps taken by Inyo County and this Board of Supervisors in installing the small solar installations near the main Courthouse in Independence, the jail and the juvenile facility,” said Mary Roper, Owens Valley Committee Board President. “While we support such appropriate small-scale and roof top solar energy production, we are opposed to the industrialization of untrammeled Inyo County landscapes with large solar and wind installations.”

“We hope that the Inyo County Board of Supervisors has heard the public outcry, understands the legal limitations that affect activities within the Owens Valley, and takes steps to deeply modify the Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment prior to moving forward with the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process,” added Roper.

While asking the County to protect our resources from industrialization, community members will also specifically express their strong opposition to the LADWP Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, the proposed location of which is cause of great concern to both Japanese American and Owens Valley Paiute communities.

“We’re here today to oppose any effort to open up large sections of the Owens Valley to large scale industrial solar and wind farms,” said Bruce Embrey, Co-Chair of the Manzanar Committee. “As you know, the LADWP wants to build what they euphemistically call a ‘Solar Ranch’ a stone’s throw from Manzanar. In reality the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch is a massive, industrial solar energy plant that would be visible from miles around.”

“This so-called ranch poses a direct threat to the Manzanar National Historic Site—a National Historic Site, created by our Congress not that many years ago, as it would destroy the character of the valley and the ability to truly understand what it was like to be locked up behind the barbed wire with nothing but open desert and mountains all around,” added Embrey.

To download a printable flyer, click on the image above (requires Adobe Reader software to view/print)

“We urge the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to join us, all the concerned people of the Owens Valley, and throughout our State to oppose the SOVSR and other large-scale energy projects, and to support instead smaller renewable development at the point of use.”

Those present will call on the City of Los Angeles to:

  • Immediately cease and desist plans for the SOVSR.
  • Abide by the Land Management Agreement they signed in 2010, which prohibits industrial development, and;
  • Stop looking to Inyo County for their resource needs, concentrating instead on local sourcing.

“Our people have endured many devastating impacts to our ancestral homelands over the last 100 years,” said Alan Bacock, Water Program Coordinator and Tribal Member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe. “Our concern is that the County’s proposed REGPA and LADWP’s industrial solar project will meet short-term goals while leaving long-term consequences for future generations to deal with.”

“We would like to see a long-term solution developed which will be sustainable for the future.”


Inyo County Courthouse

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One Response to April 1 Press Conference Will Demand Changes To Inyo County’s Proposed Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment And To Stop LADWP’s Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch

  1. Chad Montreaux says:

    Mulholland Lives! Just as Mulholland could not have succeeded in the early 20th century without well-placed collaborators disguised as “locals” in the Owens Valley, LADWP’s plan for the Owens Valley Photovoltaic Graveyard cannot succeed without the “local” moles that LADWP has as apologists in the Owens Valley County government. As most of the informed citizens of the Owens Valley and California realize, this LADWP plan has nothing to do with sustainable energy and has everything to do with LADWP finding the cheapest solution to fulfill the federal regulations for renewable energy production. Consider the following:

    1) Photovoltaics lose 1% efficiency with every 2 degree C rise in temperature. Are photovoltaics roasting on the oven-floor of the Owens Valley really that much more energy productive than photovoltaics mounted on structures in the cooler and less sunny LA basin?

    2) What percent of Owens Valley energy is lost in transmission during the 200 mile transmission-line journey to LA?

    3) To maximize efficiency, photovoltaics must work twice- once to generate electricity and a second time by reducing the demand for energy by acting as shade structure to reduce heat-loading in structures and parked vehicles. Is dumping these photovoltaics into the Owens Valley Photovoltaic Graveyard, really the best use of these resources?

    4) If LADWP is really concerned about a sustainable energy future and renewable energy, why did they place such impossible conditions on the Manzanar National Historic Site 30 Kw photovoltaic array (constructed with recovery dollars) that it remained off-line for… [how many years????]?

    5) LADWP has plundered the Owens Valley for over a century. Is not it time for the citizens to say a resounding “NO”?

    6) Remember the Alabama Gates!

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