Letter to the Editor: the cost of our luxury

Letter to the EDITOR


LADWP headquarters, Los Angeles

Today the Inyo faces difficult decisions regarding proposed solar arrays. We have the ability to make our mark anywhere on the planet, yet lack the restraint to deny our own comforts in favor of preserving nature. As humans, our very fabric and spirit belongs to the land. Our evolution occurred on undeveloped earth, this is why we seek our re-creation through outdoor activities in the wilderness. Undeveloped earth is our heritage; it is our home and protector, our flesh comes from it. As a people we have sacrificed our ability to be good stewards of the earth in favor of convenience. Now that we have scarred nearly every mile of Western California we traverse the once impenetrable Sierra to replace nature with our creation.

A solar panel cannot recharge my spirit; it cannot give me a genuine feeling from life experience in the wilderness. The cultural, historic, biological, spiritual and aesthetic costs of having large solar arrays in the Inyo are too high in relation to any benefit. The panels will be visible for hundreds of miles in the Sierra and Inyo mountain ranges. What is the fate of people who cannot put labor out of their sight, even for a moment? It is slavery. Our utility is dictating how and why we live under the guise of service. This is another tipping point in which the cost of our luxury becomes higher than the benefit we receive from it.

In a few years these panels will be completely obsolete, the landscape permanently scarred, and our rich native and biological heritage destroyed. The Inyo lays bleeding without the ability to protect itself. The rape of our land continues while the real treasures of the earth are scraped away and replaced with industry. The placement of panels in the Inyo by DWP will negate any incidental benefit nature has received as a result of their water actions. The project does not need to be in Inyo, Inyo is probably just the easiest and cheapest solution for the utility. One day water and power technology will obliterate demand and render DWP obsolete. The land will be scarred and the structures abandoned. On that day, it will be too late to turn back the clock and revive our legacy. On that day we will realize the error of our ways. We cannot afford to destroy our limited resource, Inyo the beautiful, with our unlimited penchant for expansion.

Thanks, Mongo Ignacio, Los Angeles


51 Responses to Letter to the Editor: the cost of our luxury

  1. Philip Anaya October 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Truth ,Inspiration and Purpose, An amazing communication for us all to think about .Thank you, Ignacio

  2. Deb October 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    What I find interesting about the solar array information that is being given to us is that no one is mentioning the 2 production wells that are going to be used at the site.

    • Benett Kessler October 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      We did print that info twice.

    • Daris October 28, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      Deb The one thing that I find interesting about the solar array is that it was said that the rain would keep the panels clean. What don’t they understand about our valley “The Land of Little Rain”?

      • Eastside Dweller October 28, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

        Sorry for repost, but waste of time to argue about that.

        Cleaning solar panels often not worth the cost, engineers find
        Jul 31, 2013 – Don’t hire someone to wash your dirty solar panels. That’s the conclusion of a study recently conducted by a team of engineers at the University ..

        • Russ Monroe October 29, 2013 at 8:13 am #

          You certainly should be sorry about both posts; as both are WRONG!
          If irrelevant pseudonyms posted first hand observation, or even facts, instead of regurgitating assumptions erroneously made by third parties, maybe they could have some credibility. Your posts do not!

          Fact: birds create guano
          Fact: many birds deposit that guano on whatever surface they lift off from
          Fact: Photovoltaic panels are made from many individual cells wired together in series, like Christmas tree lights; if one cell is blocked from the sun, the whole panel stops producing power.
          Fact: If I do not clean my photovoltaic panels they will produce progressively less power until they stop all together. This is first hand observation from 33 years of experience of living in the Owens Valley in a home powered by photovoltaic panels
          Fact: Our home is eight miles from the remnants of Owens Lake. The proposed obscenity is located adjacent to the Owens River directly in the center of the flyway that already has hundreds of thousands of birds a year traveling right over it. There will be more guano there than here.
          Fact: as proven on this blog over and over again, pseudonyms can post anything they please without fear of being constrained by fact or relevance because they are anonymous….. WRONG!
          No posting on the internet is anonymous! You will get to take responsibility for your words at some point. Personally I’m genuinely looking forward to that day.

          • Eastside Dweller October 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

            Russ, So because I “regurgitated” an article about research done by UC San Diego and published by a solar energy journal, it has no credibility? Even if it was completely wrong, you think you are going to counter DWP in negotiations with your personal observations about bird crap? Yeah, I can see it now: “Your Honor, Inyo County would like to call Russ Monroe as our only witness to refute DWPs expert panel from University of California on the washing of solar panels.”

            Just don’t think it’s a point to waste much time on.
            You might be able to fight them on water usage for washing panels if you can prove it. They will probably use more water flushing the toilets and washing trucks. Will these production wells feed the aqueduct also?

            I know you’re proud of 33 years residence. That almost qualifies you to be seen as transient. At 60 yrs you might be able to claim permanent residency and that allows your grandchildren to apply for county citizenship. Then at 5 generations you can call yourself local, another few thousand years you might be considered native in certain parts of town.

            What the hell makes you think that your name means anything more than anyone’s else posting here? Like everyone in the county has you in their Rolodex? Your photos are just as beautiful or just as ugly, whether your name is on them or not.

            If you have read all my posts you would know I oppose this project. You’re going to dismiss me because of one small point? You let me know how those negotiations go alone. No wonder your neighbors post anonymously. “You will get to take responsibility….” comments to me and others make you sound like a cyber stalking bully.

          • Russ Monroe October 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

            No! Eastside, your post has no credibility because the article that you referenced is not relevant to the discussion. The Owens Valley is not San Francisco. Two square miles of panels under a major flyway in a desert is not the same as a a few panels on a house in a city where it rains regularly. Your argument is invalid.
            I do think that stopping this project is important, and I do not think that an EIR that ignores the DWP’s own LORP project, figures zero maintenance costs into the equation, and has no long term plan for distribution of the power is a valid document.
            I have not read all your posts and will not. What I have read convinces me that it would be a waste my time.
            But when it comes to the court room, I am certain that every judge that I have ever given expert testimony in front of, would give any person’s testimony more weight than that of a; would be anonymous pseudonym.
            Don’t worry though Eastside, if I were going to cyber bully you, you would already have the email.

          • Eastside Dweller October 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

            Russ, the article stated 186 sites between San Francisco Bay Area and Mexican border during 145 day drought, not a few panels in San Francisco. Your narrow interpretation of article is invalid.

            My argument is that you better have something better than your small system to prove DWP wrong and that you will have to counter reports like these whether they are accurate or not. Maybe information about other large scale solar plants in similar climate. There are quite a few in CA and NV. I have not been able to find much data yet.

            You can be sure of winning against anonymous me in court, yes, but are you ready for DWP?

          • Russ Monroe October 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

            and all 186 sites were not the Owens Valley!
            You keep looking for data, I’ll keep reporting facts, we’ll see which has any effect. Ah but you are correct Eastside…. I am guilty of wasting time and effort on an irrelevant pseudonym.
            I’ll make a point of not letting it happen again.

          • Eastside Dweller November 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

            Russ, Data is facts compiled for reference or research.

            Fortunately we don’t have solar plants in Owens Valley, so one must look to other similar examples. You may want to compile some facts from other small systems if you insist on keeping your data limited to Owens Valley.

        • Mark October 29, 2013 at 10:49 am #

          It may not cost effective to hire someone to clean your solar panels but it’s an easily proven fact the cleaning them does make more power. And it doesn’t take a team of engineers to figure it out.

          I can look at my power generation before spraying off my panels then after spraying them off and they make about 1kw more when they are cleaned. So it pays to keep them clean. The more panels you have the more power you’ll make by keeping them clean.

          The water also momentarily cools the panels off. Panels are more efficient when operating at cooler temps. Of cours this only last 10 minutes are so..

          • Eastside Dweller October 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

            Mark, what is the total output of your system and frequency of cleaning? 1KW loss in a 14KW system would correspond roughly to the 7.4% loss in 145 dry days the researchers found.

          • Ken Warner October 30, 2013 at 8:44 am #

            Mark, I wonder — could you cool the panels from below? Like a large heat sink perhaps cooled by water and a radiator like a car? Also, I wonder what overall increase in electrical generation would be with a sun-tracker mount + cooling system? Perhaps an integrated system where the sun-tracker mount provided the cooling.

            And before anybody says it’s not cost effective, I’m just interested in the overall gain not the overall cost.

          • Mark October 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

            I have about 6kw. I spray them off maybe six times a year.

            Tracking panels would make considerably more power. Mine only makes full power for an hour around noon.

            Anything that moves requires more maintenance. And if you have to pay for that maintenance service that can start to throw the entire financial benifit out of wack. Such is also true with generating power with wind turbines.

          • Ken Warner October 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

            Mark, Thanks for the reply. The idea of tracking panel mounts is intriguing to me. I’m thinking about very simple polar axis mounts with adjustable declination angles that are not continuously adjustable but maybe has 4 or 8 stations. Winter Solstice; Spring Equinox; Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox and maybe those could be divided to give 8 stations. If the panel is at your home, you could adjust the declination 4 or 8 times a year with a cup of coffee in the morning.

            Then the hour angle could be adjusted roughly by some simple mechanism.

            I once read about a tracker that used automobile thermostats and water hoses. When the Sun strikes the thermostat, the thermostat heats up; opens and water pressure moves the panel mount.

            Something like that would be fun to figure out. There’s probably a million simple ideas for Sun trackers that would track well enough to get the job done and be fun to build for a garage project.

        • Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

          Funny how Martian rovers are often affected by dust on their solar panels.


          Read the energy conservation strategy NASA has had to adopt to overcome reduced energy production of their rovers solar panels in the very last paragraph.

          • Eastside Dweller October 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

            DT, thanks for the informative link, but you may be comparing apples to oranges here. Mars does have global dust storms and no rain that we have seen. Article does say that wind cleans the panels. You would also have to compare area of panels to electrical load.

  3. Eastside Dweller October 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    Thanks Mongo, have you thought about sending it to LA Times, LA Weekly, lacitywatch.com ?

  4. Trouble October 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    I really don’t want to see DWP get their whinny whiners way! Did I spell that right?

  5. I C October 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Your words paint the picture. The best place for panels are on the houses that need them. The economics dictate the need for electricity to be generated at the end user’s facility. Decentralize power generation. Stop building future eyesores for our grandchildren to regret.

    • Ken Warner October 28, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      Panels on the house is a good idea — if it works at the site. First, I rent. Do I need to install panels on every place I rent? And there’s trees around my house. I get Sun only a few hours a day in the summer. Practically no Sun in the Winter. Many houses up here are like mine.

      And rented accommodations are a large portion everywhere.

      Good idea in theory. Not so good in practice.

  6. Bishop Beans October 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Outstanding. Mongo Ignacio for mayor of Los Angeles! (or, at least, General Manager of the DWP)

  7. Yacht Rocked October 28, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Truth. Pull up Google earth and take a look at Highway 58 near Kramer Junction and just outside Carrizo Plain National Monument. You can see the solar farms and solar ranches arrayed in dense blocks, and construction is continuing rapidly. Very tall new high voltage power lines and transformers the size of mobile homes feed the panels into power for L.A. This area was once like yours…vast, desolate, lonely, and visually inspiring. Now the only people you see are construction workers and panel washers. Hope you take away that what you have can never be replaced, and as these places disappear, the integrity of the Inyo is that much more valuable.

  8. Wayne Deja October 28, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Mongo…..Glad to see some feel this way about “development” and what it does to the land up here in the Owens Valley…where some want to see it become another Antelope Valley in the 80’s…already talk in my town about all the economic advantages this “project” will bring…..$ 40.00 per hour jobs…to start….more business’,more people..more traffic,more development…more $$$ for everyone and everything….kinda like how they felt in Mammoth back in the 80’s too….and how it was going to turn into another Vail,Colorado….we all see how that turned out….

    • Eastside Dweller October 28, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Owens Valley should know from Owens Lake that most of the nice pickups bought from that job had out of state plates or LA registration and are no longer in town.

  9. Energy Foundation October 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Contact High Sierra Energy Foundation for any questions.


  10. Mongo The Idiot October 29, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Its hard to imagine or even realize that there is a natural world to those of us who live in cities. At home in LA every inch of my surrounding is influence by man, even the sky and horizon are impaired by structures. As I struggle for survival in this environment my thoughts shift from those of a life in harmony with nature to those of surviving in my man made world. I have to complete many unnatural tasks over the course of a day to survive here. Most everyone here conducts business without regard for others; even apparently benevolent businesses like hospitals are frequently ruthless. I fill my evenings with television, it is there that I escape into the lives of others and adventure.

    It is not hard to see why so many pioneers of our solar power industry would seek to exploit the last of the scenic lands within reach of Los Angeles for profit. Living in LA or any economic center is expensive, getting a shot at power and prestige here is priceless. It is this incentive that drives people to the Inyo in search of their fortune.

    Greed is not the desire of money; greed is the desire of money without regard for consequence. Greed hurts people and the earth. These solar projects could have a significantly reduced ecological impact by being placed in the urban centers they will serve; that however cuts into profits and privilege.

    Our Inyo is largely pristine; DWP’s land lock on the county for their watershed has all but completely squelched growth in the valley. Now out of towners come here in search of gold who have no appreciation for our valley. They do not live here and are not invested in the communities. To these people The Inyo is their prey; they hope it will provide their fortune. To them, the costs to the community and environment are incidental and insignificant.

    I have met some of these captains of industry here in LA. They live in obscenely large houses; they drive gorgeous cars, and belong to exclusive clubs. They always ask me what I do, yet when I ask the same question the answers are ambiguous. “I can’t say Mongo, I do so many things”. Once exploited and the desired outcome achieved, the object of their acquisition is discarded. I know this; I have been discarded a hundred times.

    I assure you; the profits on these projects are enormous and typically benefit one person or a few on a board. These projects are about huge profits, once the profits are achieved, there is no concern for the exploited. On this day The Inyo will be treated like trash, rightly so because of the enormous damage that is about to be done to the landscape.

    Be mindful as you watch history repeat itself Inyo. This solar panel proliferation is very similar to what happened in the days of Mullholand.

    • The Aggressive Progressive! October 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks Mongo, I Love your insight man. A sad thing I notice is the Owens Valley happens to be a little too much on the outdated conservative side of thinkers (common in rural areas), and a lot of the respected public is tied or has ties to the LA Department of Water And Power, and that being realized it is hard to get a strong percentage of the OV public to rally together in opposition to anything LADWP does or propose’s.

  11. Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Let Mongo live in a teepee or in a cave, wear animal pelts and hunt or farm for his food. Frankly, I have absolutely no interest in turning the clock back even 100 years of human development. I hope that spirituality he gushes about makes up for lack of running water, a toilet, heat in the winter and a way to get around easily. Oh yes, no more internet for you Mongo.

    Or maybe, living in LA, Mongo is just a hypocrite. You think?

    • Benett Kessler October 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      No, I don’t think so. His comments do not suggest we turn back the clock (which is impossible) but rather that we think about our lives and consider the impacts of what we do. Spiritual considerations are not mutually exclusive from modern conveniences. Your condescension is only exceeded by your shallow thinking in this case. You have previously provided many intelligent comments.
      Benett Kessler

    • Mongo The Idiot October 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Good points Tortoise; coincidentally I had begun writing on your very observations this morning. Not so much as they pertain to me, more so in consideration of how they pertain to society in general and the project. I am Mongo the Idiot, this discussion is not about me, it is about ideas and points of view concerning The Owens Valley; your thoughts and mine.
      Incidentally, I am not interested in turning the clock back either. I am interested in conserving the integrity of what I believe to be one of the most incredible geological wonders of the earth; The Owens Valley.
      Best Regards to you Tortoise, no offense taken…
      More in the morning.

      • John Barton October 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

        I gave a thumbs up for both Tortoise and Mongo as they both bring up valid points. Society needs to find a balance to protect the visual environment while progressing towards a sustainable and independent energy future.

    • Wayne Deja October 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Desert Tortoise….Here is to hoping more people like Mongo relocate to the Owens Valley….and for some of those that want all this development ,seeking the quick and easy big bucks,the fancy cars and houses he mentioned.well,maybe they should also relocate down south where the area has already been ruined.Maybe I’m missing the point here,but when I moved to the Owens Valley 13 years ago after years of just making it my vacation spot,I knew I would be sacrificing the high paying jobs and the big bucks,but chose that over the years of watching Lancaster and the Antelope Valley go down the drain with their development and population explosion,and the same with the town I moved to in Oregon….. the explosion of crime,gangs,drugs,and all the negative things that go along with those that seek the high-life and all this development….last time I went to Lancaster 6 years ago I had trouble finding the house I grew up and lived in for over 14 years…the baseball field my brother and I built across the street in a vacant field is now a high school…the outskirts of town where we used to go hiking and shooting our .22 rifles is now an area you don’t want to go to or be around,unless you want to happen upon a meth-lab…try walking down Lancaster Blvd.after dark now…when I drove by my old high school and stopped to look around,I was probably being looked at as some pervert looking at teen-agers…Sierra Hwy. and it’s once nice clean motels have turned into dives where johns take their hookers….all in the name of the mighty dollar…At one time,Lancaster and the Antelope Valley was a place to “get away”….now it’s a place you want to get away from.

      • Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

        I never earned a quick or easy buck in my life, but because nothing comes all that easy I will darned if I am going to walk away from human advancement. I very much want to preserve the comforts I have worked hard for and that means a cool if somewhat old European luxury sedan and some high performance motorcycles to blow off some steam on. I don’t feel the least bit guilty about anything I have because I worked for it.

  12. Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I live in the here and now and prefer practical solutions to the problems we face, solutions grounded in knowledge not speculation. I am of the firm opinion that too often those who failed to apply themselves in school learning math and science resort to sappy spiritualism and religious fairy tales to explain the physical world. I reject this utterly.

    • Benett Kessler October 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I share your dislike for “sappy spiritualism and religious fairy tales” but also know that a deeper, more thoughtful approach to life and its major questions – Where did we come from? What are we doing here? And, where are we going? need serious study. A lack of expertise in math, science, or anything else does not eliminate a person from gaining the most serious answers in life. Of course, application in education is very important but so is introspection and honest self knowledge.
      Benett Kessler

      • Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        Gods laws are the laws of the physical universe, the laws of chemistry, physics, biology and the common language is math. If only people spent as much time studying these as they do supposedly holy books the world would be a much better and quieter place.

        • Mongo The Idiot October 30, 2013 at 10:54 am #

          We are all guilty of over generalization so I am not criticizing anyone from a personal standpoint. I agree with the claim about the laws of the universe. I do not completely agree with the claim about the study and exploitation of natural laws making the world a better place. If this were true, then Einstein’s theory of relativity would not have led to the bombing of Hiroshima. When our nation imprisoned Japanese people at Manzanar, it wasn’t math or science that helped them to persevere; it was their immutable spirit.
          I had the pleasure of meeting someone from Hiroshima about 10 years ago, this persons gentle and loving attitude moved me deeply, clearly they had learned the importance of spirit. Science without spirit or with evil spirit is death; isn’t the difference between human good and evil spiritual and not scientific?
          It looks to me like scientific development has outpaced the spiritual 10 to 1.
          Is it worth this small ultimate sacrifice we are about to make?
          Where will we be after 1000 more like it?

        • Nikola Tesla October 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

          “Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.”

      • Ken Warner October 30, 2013 at 8:53 am #

        “gaining the most serious answers in life”

        No one can possibly know the answers you allude to. How do you distinguish delusion from veracity? And what would you do with those answers if you actually got them? They might make you go the rest of the way crazy. What if your answers showed that the universe just doesn’t care?

        And besides, those answers — if you got them — might be anti-development and anti-growth — then where would people be able to walk around and “gather”?

        • Benett Kessler October 30, 2013 at 8:56 am #

          Each individual has to figure it out for himself, Ken. The truth is always better than an alternative. And, what if the truth were a wonderful thing? You might try looking on the bright side. Serious and long-term observation and contemplation of life and nature reveals amazing truths. Brings to mind the quote from Socrates – “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
          Benett Kessler

          • Ken Warner October 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

            I’ve already found the fundamental truth that underlies all of life —

            Don’t s**t the bed

            All other truths fall from that.

            Alternatively, the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. That’s well documented in a 4 book trilogy.

        • Mongo The Idiot October 30, 2013 at 9:13 am #

          The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
          Albert Einstein

        • Rage against ______? October 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

          Ken –
          Anyone ever tell you sound like one angry, angry, angry man?
          Why not venture past the politics/econmics that we’re being bombarded with, and take that inner journey to see what’s really bugging you?

          It’s usually goes as far back as siblings, parents or a combination.

    • Mongo The Idiot October 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Another good point Tortoise; spiritualism could have little bearing on the physical world.
      Although the physical world may affect spiritualism if it is defined outside of religious or magical thinking as a condition of a person or groups psyche.
      To me the problem that we face is the alteration of a precious resource; this resource is scenic open space in the Owens Valley.
      I continue to respect and value your input in this and other discussions.

    • Trouble October 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      I just want to out live Keith Richards!

      • Desert Tortoise October 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        Learn to play the guitar like him and you too will be immortal.

  13. Mongo The Idiot October 30, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Mongo’s hypocrisy – In my city I am mandated by law to recycle grocery sacks, I participate in mandatory trash recycling, I pay CRV on bottles to insure they are recycled, every other year I get a smog check to make sure that my car isn’t unnecessarily polluting, I also pay recycling fees on tires and televisions. I conserve water yet I am allowed to use 60 gallons per square foot per year to water my LA lawn, as long as none of it washes down the street. I truly have a sense of conservation even though my actions appear superficial in comparison to installing massive solar arrays along a scenic by-way. I use electricity yet don’t want solar panels that I can see to provide it; am I any different than those in LA who complained about the private panels along the Pasadena freeway? I don’t know anyone who wants this in their backyard. Are we in agreement at least that solar panels are ugly? This brings the question; since LA doesn’t want panels in its communities, why aren’t these panels being placed in uninhabitable areas where the cultural and aesthetic impact will be minimal? Deductive reasoning suggests that the answers are purely economic and political. Isn’t the reason that this issue is before the Inyo board because variances are required to green light any of the proposed projects? Weren’t these building codes established to protect the land and limit expansion? I believe we are all hypocrites in a way, willing to complete superficial tasks that give the appearance of stewardship toward the earth, yet unwilling to take major steps in the direction of saving the actual land. Am I willing to dig deeper and do these less selfish and less superficial things? Am I willing to look at my own hypocrisy as it relates to this current question? Am I recycling soda bottles to save land fill space while quietly allowing the scarping of square mile tracts along a scenic by-way as I tout renewable clean electricity? These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves.

    As to spirituality, has your heart ever sung at the sight of nature? Have you ever had a feeling of pure exhilaration during a sunset or after a dusting of snow? Have you ever been lifted from despair as you drive out of an urban center into The Inyo? I have, to me this is life, to my soul it is my intended purpose on earth. Yes, to me these things appear more important than technology, because they are being threatened by the seemingly unbridled expansion of mankind. Whether or not I mix my sappy brand of spiritualism with God or religion is no ones business, our Constitution gives us that individual right.

    In the 1800’s we saw the gold miner, early 1900 brought the miner of liquid gold; water, now in 2013 we see a new type of miner, the miner of the golden beam, sunlight. This last miner does not need to be here for the light, it is everywhere; he is here purely for the land and to keep his monstrosity out of his own back yard.

    I beg you, put personalities aside and protect this natural wonder we call Owens Valley.

    I anxiously await all responses on the subject. Make a stand for whatever it is that you believe in.

    • MajorTom October 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm #


      I don’t feel passionately about a bunch of solar panels a few miles off 395. I think the bigger rip-off is that DWP (and solar energy companies) do not pay any extra taxes to the local governments for degrading the viewshed and making a lot of money off an industrial complex. Any other business contributes to the community welfare in exchange for the costs it imposes on the community.

      The land in Inyo County has traditionally been working land. There were many more towns, railroads, farms, orchards, ranches and other uses that destroyed the natural character of the land. Is a 2000 acre solar field really that much more of an eyesore than a 2000 acre hay field or orchard? Those crop circles stand out like a sore thumb from the top of the mountains. Should they go too? To a greater or lesser extent, all human activity destroys the natural environment, but adds something too.

      The valley traditionally had a diverse economy and diverse jobs. Making the valley a natural preserve to sooth the souls of the urban multitudes can impose a great cost on the people who live here. It relegates them to being servants to those urbanites who vacation here for awhile before returning to the drudging reality of the city, or worse, servants to those who don’t even come here but enjoy the thought of having protected the place from themselves.

      So it is a tough question, but I don’t think that the answer is that the valley must be preserved to make urbanites happy. That attitude has cost the people here access to much of the desert, loss of the ability to stake a claim and start a mine, create a farm or orchard, and (soon possibly) to fish in the mountains – loss of much of culture that our ancestors created and that has been taken away from many people living here today.

      • Mongo The Idiot October 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

        Super good points Major,
        I don’t see the valley as a soothing escape just for urbanites, I see it as something to be preserved for everyone; my examples are just from my experience as an urbanite.
        You bring up another very good point though; different branches of government are restricting access to public lands by citizens while at the same time destructively exploiting nearly the same land themselves for industry. How is that fair and balanced? I also believe that this first project is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s just one 2000 acre project. I believe that once this project is approved many more will follow from DWP and private companies. Drive through Mojave lately? I also do not think it is fair to compare a solar field to a farm, ranch, or crop circle. These examples are largely of living or once living material. A solar panel is more comparable to a big box store or warehouse both in composition and shape. I would consider this a fair comparison “Those big warehouses stand out like a sore thumb from the top of the mountains. Should they go too?”
        Lastly, yes, all human activity destroys the the natural environment but adds something too. Does this give us license to destroy everything in our path?
        Off topic I personally think what has happened with the closed roads and fish is horrible. Either these are public lands or they aren’t. As for the railroad, I want to see the Slim Princess back on track and I don’t want to ride it past enormous fields of boxy black things.
        DWP has incidentally historically saved this region from this type of development. Their water actions have halted development for a century, is it time to break open the time capsule full of gold? It is not fair to us the people to carry the burden of this or any other eyesore while at the same time being prohibited from using public lands and having our water exported.
        It is a real mess. No wonder so many Inyoites move to Nevada, even the DWP workers, California must be a lost cause to those in the know.
        Anyway, thanks for the discussion.


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