Same old, same old, with some truly sad twists.
Once again DW&P came to Lone Pine Tuesday to bring us partially up to date on what they are currently planning to do to us. Mr. Holloway started the night by reducing the 1100 plus page EIR document to a few minute thumbnail presentation, utilizing the vast majority of the two hour meeting to record oral comments from attendees. A small number of people spoke to support the project, the vast majority spoke to oppose or question the “Solar Farm”.
The suggestion was made to apply truth in labeling by; changing the project name to “Solar Power Plant”.
For those who haven’t wasted their time reading the EIR, the DW&P rationale comes down to; “the state made us do it”. Federal and state mandates were blamed for forcing this solar power plant to happen. None of these mandates forces DW&P to build 250 miles from the load source, or tile the desert with photovoltaic panels but, hey, any intimidation is justified when trying to calm the hostiles in the colonies, right?
The questions were the problem of the evening for the presenter. Definitive answers were not available generally, but contradictory babel was abundant. Mr. Holloway stated that this project would fill the available space in the transmission system. When asked about the pilot project (on the Owens Lake bed) that DW&P had talk about during the last several public meetings here, he said that the pilot project was continuing. When asked why the DW&P was not waiting to see the results of the pilot project before building a 200mega-watt project; one of the many “I don’t know” answers. No one even asked: “Why would the DW&P build a pilot project if this one fills up the grid capacity?”
Mr. Holloway was here to defend the EIR. In my view, he failed. As many commentors, some from Los Angeles, said: “put the panels in LA!” Mr. Holloway stated that his home has a 4kilo-watt array on it. He also pointed out that rain keeps his panels clean, and since the air pollution in LA is worse than the Owens Valley, the solar power plant will be self cleaning. While it may be nice to live in Mr. Holloway’s fantasy land where the lake dust doesn’t fall and birds don’t leave calling cards, his ignorance of the situation here underscores the fact that the 1200 page EIR is based in both ignorance as well as the usual arrogance.
Those that spoke in favor of the project, and most that spoke against it, said that they were in favor of solar power. Gosh, me too. I’ve been living on it for a long time, it works! But that is no excuse for paving the planet with solar panels. What was totally lacking from the meeting in Lone Pine was any form of long term plan. Mr. Holloway told us three years ago, that it would take fifteen years to get new power lines approved and built so a 200mega-watt plant will be all that will be built for some time. This time he refused to predict the future.
I believe we must act now to regain local control before our towns disappear under the worlds largest “Solar Ranch”. To that end; I ask our county board of supervisors to immediately intact a moratorium on any solar power plant construction larger than 500kilo-watts with grid inter tie.
If we do not do this now, we will soon find out exactly what DW&P has spent a century “saving” the valley for.