Big Pine Tribe calls DWP’s hand on land acquisitions

Officials of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe have called DWP’s hand on its pattern of purchasing large tracts of land that impact bacockgarypotential growth of local communities and can lead to environmental impacts.

In a letter to the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners, Big Pine Tribal Administrator Gary Bacock asks the officials to meet with tribal officials to discuss property issues in the Owens Valley.

The letter says, “LADWP’s practice of releasing very small amounts of land, then purchasing large amounts is contradictory to the Long Term Water Agreement.” The letter points to DWP plans to release 75 acres and possible a few other acres while at the same time buying up more than 100 acres near Independence with plans to also buy the Reid Watson property that borders the Big Pine Reservation.

The Big Pine Tribe writes that the Reid Watson Trust Property is 8.23 acres of wate-righted land touching the west end of the Reservation. The letteer sais the Tribe was “encouraged by Reid Watson’s heirs to consider purchasing the property.” Administrator Bacock says the Tribe has made legitimate offers to the sellers. He says that the Tribe believes DWP staff “interfered with the potential sale of the property to the Tribe.” Bacock says the Tribe learned that there is a sales agreement for LADWP to purchase the land with final approval pending in Los Angeles.

The tribal letter lays out environmental, economic and legal concerns about that. They also express interest in purchasing 16 acres of LADWP land known as the Triangle. The letter ends with a request to meet with LA officials on these issues.

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