DWP solar project comment period extended

Solar Panel

photo by Jim Stroh

The Inyo Supervisors recently sent in comments of concern for environmental impacts from the Department of Water and Power’s proposed solar project, and now everyone can continue to comment through November 4th. DWP extended their comment deadline.

It is DWP that will complete an Environmental Impact Report on the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project planned for 1200 acres southeast of Independence, across from the Manzanar Historic Site and east of the Owens River. DWP plans to build the one million solar-paneled, 200 megawatt project next year.

Inyo County comments, compiled by the Planning Department, point to potential dust pollution, visual impacts, lack of a reclamation plan, failure to consider the Long-Term Water Agreement regarding two new wells, failure to comply with the County Geneal Plan, housing impacts, and impacts to the Lower Owens River Project.

The County also raises the concern that if the solar project impacts animal and bird habitat, other agencies may require that DWP buy more land to offset the habitat destruction. The County points out that DWP already owns 98% of private land and has continued to buy up more. Inyo officials say this erodes the County tax base and related services.

The County’s comments are online at www.inyoplanning.org. The Draft EIR is available at all Inyo libraries and the DWP office in Bishop. See it online at www.ladwp.com. Mail your comments to:

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

Or email to Nadia.Parker@ladwp.com or Charles.Holloway@ladwp.com



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25 Responses to DWP solar project comment period extended

  1. Mongo The Idiot October 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Isn’t DWP in violation of anti trust monopoly law by owning 98% of private land and continuing to buy up more to monopolize the country’s water? Isn’t the erosion of the County tax base and related services an anti competitive monopoly practice similar to the one that broke up ATT?
    Also, my notice said that I could comment to Charles.Holloway@ladwp.com in addition to Nadia.Parker@ladwp.com
    Is there a reason Holloway was left out of the SW article?
    Why is DWP doing their own EIR, Isn’t that a conflict of interest because of their motive and partiality? Why isn’t an independent firm with a Moral Impartiality Agreement being used?
    Why isn’t anyone saying anything about how it’s illegal and a conflict of interest for DWP to do its own EIR?
    Where the hell is Phillip?

    • Benett Kessler October 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks, Mongo. I added Charles.Holloway@ladwp.com. I can’t answer your other questions except that DWP is the “lead agency” on the EIR.

      • Eastside Dweller October 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

        SW, accurate and truthful figures are important for the focus needed in this important discussion. DWP does not own 98% of private land in Inyo County. More like 65%. If you and/or County mean 98% of Owens Valley then state so. Mongo’s counting on you. And we are counting on heartfelt and accurate letters to DWP from Mongo.

        • Benett Kessler October 24, 2013 at 11:43 am #

          According to Inyo County, DWP does own 98% of private land. 2% is owned by individuals.

          • Eastside Dweller October 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

            Land in Federal Ownership 92.0%
            Land in State Ownership 2.4%
            Land in City of Los Angeles Ownership 3.9%
            Land in Private Ownership 1.7%

            Inyo and Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s Office

          • Benett Kessler October 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

            You are looking at total land ownership. The 98% figure is of privately held land. Call Inyo County. LA owns 98% of PRIVATE LAND. Citizens own the other 2%. This private land borders Highway 395.

          • Eastside Dweller October 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

            (Dwp + private) 3.9 + 1.7 = 5.6
            3.9 divided by 5.6 = 69.64%

          • Benett Kessler October 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

            I stand by my information.

          • Eastside Dweller October 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

            Those numbers are on the County’s website home page also, and I stand by the math. The County is giving one of us bad information. 98% of Owens Valley is believable, but not entire county.

            Not all private land borders 395 as you state. Shoshone and outskirts of Trona are in Inyo County along with other parcels. I’m sure the Inyo Tax Collector does not overlook them. Myopia and misinformation in local politics is astounding.

          • Benett Kessler October 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

            Go to the Water Department and look at their map. LA owns all the land around all of our towns and in the towns. They own the land under the businesses on Main Street, the land under county and city parks, the land under ball fields, churches, homes. They have not allowed growth of our towns.

          • Desert Tortoise October 26, 2013 at 10:24 am #

            Bennet and others, it is not privately held land if it is owned by any level of government. LADWPs land is not private land.

          • Benett Kessler October 26, 2013 at 11:15 am #

            LADWP likes to consider itself a private agency – also not regulated by PUC. Give it up – LA owns most of the land around our towns and controls our destiny, to a large extent.

          • Eastside Dweller October 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

            Just asked to clear up ambiguity of article and whether 98% applied to County or Owens Valley. Simple question.

      • Gary October 25, 2013 at 4:40 pm #


        Why can’t Inyo county or one of the towns there use eminent domain to “take” some DWP land? They could then lease it out for local use. Maybe this could break the stranglehold the DWP seems to have on the land there.

        • Benett Kessler October 26, 2013 at 11:18 am #

          Ask the Supervisors.

        • Eastside Dweller October 26, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

          DWP did put up several parcels for sale at auction and few sold. Maybe if DWP, local government, non-profits, banks, etc., could set up loans and grants for local individuals to buy and develop these properties it would be a start.

  2. Mongo The Idiot October 23, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Why is DWP exempt from water law?
    A water right is a legal entitlement authorizing water to be diverted from a specified source and put to beneficial, nonwasteful use. Water rights are property rights, but their holders do not own the water itself. They possess the right to use it. The exercise of some water rights requires a permit or license from the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), whose objective is to ensure that the State’s waters are put to the best possible use, and that the public interest is served.

    In making decisions, the State Water Board must keep three major goals in mind:

    1- developing water resources in an orderly manner;
    2- preventing waste and unreasonable use of water; and
    3- protecting the environment.


    DWP has violated The Water Board’s 3 major goals.

    1- DWP has crippled Inyo county.
    2- DWP allows its customers to waste water on lawns.
    3- DWP has destroyed the environment by drying up the 100 square mile Owens Lake.

    • Benett Kessler October 23, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Numerous other areas of the Owens Valley have also been dried up – flowing springs, flowing artesian wells, wellfields.
      Benett Kessler

    • Eastside Dweller October 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      Mongo, I am no water law expert, but believe DWP’s water rights predate current law. Laws were changed to prevent what happened in Owens Valley and elsewhere in the West, but are not retroactive. You would have to research the specific situation in OV.

    • Desert Tortoise October 26, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      LA maintains it’s water rights precisely because it’s water is put to continuous beneficial use. In fact the second aquaduct pipe is there precisely to protect LA’s water rights.

      Into the 1960’s Lost Angeles did not use the full allocation of water LA claimed water rights to. Under Western Water Law, if water rights are not used for a period of years, if that water is not put to continuous beneficial use, then they are said to be abandoned, freeing that water to be claimed by other users. Since LA was not using all of the Owens Valley water it claimed a right to, other water agencies were preparing claims on the unused water and preparing to claim in court that LA had abandoned some of their water rights in the Owens Valley. LA had to put the second pipe in and begin using all of the water it claimed a right to in order to stave off the claims being made by other water users.

      LADWP and it’s claims in the Owens Valley predate the body of laws governing water rights, the DWR and it’s predecessors so their rights are grandfathered. The current body of law and the DWR and it’s precessors in part own their existence to the claims on Sierra Nevada water by LA, San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley farmers.

      Btw, consider the fact that 85% of the developed fresh water in Southern California is owned by the Imperial Irrigation District, and, and, they have water rights on the Colorado River senior to every single other user except the Colorado River Tribes. LA MWD, the big water supplier for LA and most of the other cities in So Cal, is a very minor water user in comparison to IID. IID would not have to give up much water to slake the needs of LA and the rest of So Cal but steadfastly refuses to budge. I vividly remember Senator Feinstein, at a public meeting of the IID, suggesting the State Legislature and Congress might find it necessary to legislate water use by IID if they refused to sell any of their rights to municipal users, primarily San Diego in this case. An elected director of the IID stood up and called the Senator a “pig-eyed, gas bag sack of sh_t” right to her face in a public meeting with the press standing there trying to fetch their jaws off the floor. IID has successfully fought off every attempt to encroach on their water rights, even as the rest of the Colorado River users loose their water allocations. The courts have backed their claims every time they have been challenged including SCOTUS.

  3. Philip Anaya October 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    The dumbing down DWP notification dated Oct 7, 2013 extending the deadline for comments, sent to my place in Bishop arrived on Oct 16. I guess this is their mitigation measure for not providing a legitimate (maybe a legal) CEQA process with a Scoping and a proper Notice of Preparation for this Manzanar Rewards Solar Project. How about a proper and legitimate Draft EIR to comment on? How can the Inyo County Board of Supervisors acknowledge this issue in it’s comments on the DEIR and not initiate a legal challenge? Are they part of the problem?
    Ms. Parker and Mr. Holloway of the DWP’s Environmental and Assessments have had my Public Information Request for the Facilities Study, the Feasibility Study, The System Interconnection Study and the Application and the Minutes from the Scoping meeting of the Interconnection of this Project since Sept 23,2013 and they have yet to provide access to the Documentation or even respond that they have received the request. Inyo County has still not seen the Documentation as of yesterday and I challenge the DWP to release the documents to show that they have indeed a Priority Queue Position for the Manzanar Reward Project Site. I also challenge Inyo County to do a Public Records Request for the documents and share them with concerned and affected Agencies, Groups and Individuals and of course they should at least read the documents themselves. The priority postion that DWP is claiming in the DEIR, I suspect, is only for the two previous project sites noted in the DEIR. The LGIP (Large Generator Interconnection Procedure) details the application process to connect an Energy Generation project to the Transmission Line. The LGIP addresses modifications to the process and the Manzanar Reward Solar Project does not have the queue postion for interconnection to the Transmission Line. Show me the Documents and shut me up.
    It is very important to find specific issues within the parameters of the DEIR that can be included into the record for future litigation. This may be the only way that the project will be stopped unless there is something that would cause the DWP to withdraw the project. If they do not have that number 09 Priority Queue Position for this project then they have to start fresh, start a new LGIP process and will be at the bottom of the Queue List. Why is Inyo County and it’s Legal Counsel not reading the these Documents and the LGIP? If they have read these documents why are they not part of the Public Record of this proposed Project?

    It is near the end of time to comment with specific information for inclusion into the Final EIR. If there are too many, too difficult mitigation issues to address then the DWP may not choose to go forward with the Project. Other Posts are correct that the EIR does not approve or disapprove of a project. However the EIR identifies the environmental issues that might restrain the location, restrain the size and the scope of a project. Our neighbors and friends have much expertise in all the aspects of this proposed project. We all need to comment before the deadline even though the process is flawed. Another example:
    There would be a huge investment of DWP ratepayer dollars to build this Project. Without having any idea of that cost is it possible that the DWP Water Commissioners and Mayor Garcetti should be thinking that DWP would be better off purchasing electricity from private sector Generators who are already on the Queue list. The DWP owns the Transmission Line and so a regulated electrical rate is sure to be the case. This way DWP ratepayers would not have to front the Investment capital in order to receive the renewable energy that DWP will be required to utilize. Also Privately Owned Generators are not exempt from our Inyo Planning Ordinances so the siteing and Proposed Projects can be locally regulated.
    These are only a few ideas that need to be presented to the DWP Commissioners. Again there are experts who live in this Valley who have knowledge regarding all the aspects of this EIR process and if we are to limit Industrial Scale Renewable Energy Development in the Owens Valley to practical and well thought out planned development, well I hope that folks get busy and submit their expert comments for inclusion into the Final EIR.
    DWP is not ever able to do the right thing on their own, even if they want to. They need all of our input,our oppostion, our ideas and our wisdom and knowledge of this most beautiful place we get to call home to get things right. The process we now have to get this right is now down to our comments and our wits, otherwise best take a lot of pics and have a lot of memories about what this Valley looks like today.

    • Eastside Dweller October 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      PA, Some very good points. Though DWP owning it’s own power plants has been mostly well worth the investment. They avoided Enron manipulations etc.

      Saying,”DWP is not ever able to do the right thing on their own, even if they want to.” Is specious and possibly disingenuous. It weakens or destroys your position as a negotiator and stands to become a self fulfilling prophecy. They have done the right thing for LA for 100 yrs. and even a few good things here. Even if you see them as an complete adversary, it is even more important to see clearly your enemies than your friends.

      • Philip Anaya October 26, 2013 at 5:50 am #

        Hey ED,
        Don’t you really think that a discussion about LADWP “not ever able to get things right” is a discussion that should have occurred between LADWP and the Owen’s Valley decades ago. This discussion should have been initiated by some far sighted Manager of the DWP, who would be able to recognize that there was this widely held perception of this problem in the Owens Valley and even among the ranks of silent DWP employees.
        DWP does not want anyone nor any entity regulating their activities. They have the task of providing the resource to Los Angeles and if you take a look at the unbelievable miracle of that infrastructure there are many issues and problems beyond their control that accompany that infrastructure and mission.
        It is my own opinion like my own relative simple existence, “That I get by with a little help from my friends”, the DWP benefits when friends and neighbors have discussions ,cooperation, agreements, trust , looking out for one another. If you have that kind of neighborhood you don’t even think about locking things up at night and living that fortress mentality.
        So one way or the other reasonable people are going to try and be good neighbors even to the DWP and at least cajole and prod them into neighborly social interaction and behavior. As it is DWP tends to be a mite asocial as an Institution.
        Sometimes it takes a spotlight and some strong language and litigation because DWP is hunkered down “stealing resources legally”. Is there anyone in DWP interested in having this discussion?

        • Eastside Dweller October 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

          PA, I am mostly in agreement with your letters and concerns. I have criticized your language sometimes because I think it undermines your position as one of our best spokesmen. I really do support you.

          I think it is important to remember that the issue of “stealing resources legally” is a global one and so it behooves us to take a global view as well as a local one. We desperately need the type of neighborly discussion you speak of at so many levels in this world.

          Mayor Hahn proposed putting all DWP land into conservation easement a decade ago, and I think we dropped the ball locally for a chance at major negotiations. Imagine if we had protected the land they want to develop now.

  4. Mongo The Idiot October 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    I put my comments in but they look stupid next to Phillips.
    Thank God for Phillip.


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