Unified, Grass-Roots Effort Credited With Gaining Indefinite Hold On Industrial-Scale Solar Projects Threatening Manzanar, Owens Valley

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LOS ANGELES — In a joint statement on August 3, the Manzanar Committee and the Owens Valley Committee (OVC) announced that two industrial-scale solar energy projects that would have had adverse impacts on California’s Owens Valley and the Manzanar National Historic Site have been delayed indefinitely.

On March 12, 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) withdrew their proposed 1,200-acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) from the Interconnection Queue for their Inyo-Rinaldi transmission line, which transports electricity through the Owens Valley, south to Los Angeles.

As reported by Deb Murphy of Sierra Wave Online, a news outlet covering Inyo and Mono Counties, LADWP confirmed that the SOVSR project has been removed from the interconnection queue.

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Personal Approach Helped Stall DWP Solar Project

At an April 1, 2014 press conference, held on the steps of the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, California, stakeholders called on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors to protect the Owens Valley from large-scale,
industrial renewable energy development. From left: Alan Bacock, Big Pine Paiute Tribe, Mary Roper,
Owens Valley Committee, Bruce Embrey, Manzanar Committee, Meredith Hackleman, Metabolic Studio.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Judyth Greenburgh

The following was originally published in the June 2, 2015 edition of the Inyo Register. It is reprinted here with permission.


by Jon Klusmire
Special to the Inyo Register

INDEPENDENCE, CA — A personal approach that tapped into a shared history of past battles and victories was credited with delaying for a decade the industrial scale solar power project that kicked off an 18-month public debate in Inyo County about the future of the solar power industry in the county.

An alliance of Inyo County residents and organizations, and the Los Angeles based Manzanar Committee, came together to battle the solar project in 2014, in a move that resembled a similar effort 25 years ago to out-maneuver the Los Angeles Department of Power (LADWP) during the long struggle to establish the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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Community Members Launch DeepestValley.com Web Site to Protect Land, Communities of Inyo County

The following is a press release from DeepestValley.com, which, like the Manzanar Committee, is fighting against the construction of large-scale renewable energy development in the Owens Valley, including any such development that would intrude upon the viewshed of the Manzanar National Historic Site.


Photo courtesy DeepestValley.com

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Concerned community members in California’s Inyo County launched a new web site last week dedicated to the conservation of our open spaces.

Deepestvalley.com was initiated shortly after the now infamous Inyo County Planning Commission Meeting on Feburary 26, 2014, during which the Commission voted 4-1 to zone for industrial use enormous swaths of untouched land previously designated as agricultural and conservation land. This action, taken in spite of overwhelming public opposition both before and during the meeting, moved the rezoning proposal to the Board of Supervisors for discussion on March 18.

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LADWP’s Solar Ranch Proposal: “A Display Of Cultural Insensitivity To The Japanese American Community”

Here is another letter, this time, from a resident of the Owens Valley, to Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles, opposing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s plan to build a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility that would be built in close proximity to the Manzanar National Historic Site.


Owens Valley resident
David L. Wagner.
Photo courtesy David L. Wagner

December 17, 2013

Mayor Eric Garcetti
City of Los Angeles

Dear Mayor Garcetti:

I am a resident of the town of Independence in the Owens Valley. Along with many other residents of Owens Valley, I am deeply concerned about the proposal by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to construct a 1,200-acre industrial solar installation known as the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) in an area rich in cultural resources and in the viewshed of the Manzanar Historical Site. Our concerns include:

  1. A precedent-setting change in LADWP land management focus in Owens Valley from watershed management to industrial development;
  2. The approval process for this development;
  3. The destruction of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, and;
  4. Degradation of the visitor experience and integrity of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

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