Petition Drive Demands Halt To LADWP’s Plan To Build Solar Energy Facility Adjacent To Manzanar
LOS ANGELES – On December 14, the Manzanar Committee announced that it has launched an online petition drive calling on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to halt its efforts to build their proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project, a 200-megawatt solar energy generating facility that would consist of solar photovoltaic panel modules and associated infrastructure. The approximately 1,200-acre project site would be located on City of Los Angeles-owned property east of the Owens River, but in a direct line of sight with the Manzanar National Historic Site, which lies to the immediate west, in California’s Owens Valley.
“The Manzanar National Historic Site stands as one of the most impressive, thorough exhibits on the Japanese American incarceration experience,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “The National Park Service staff does an incredible job, day in and day out, of telling the story. But now, a massive solar farm with thousands of solar panels could distract from, and negatively impact, the Manzanar National Historic Site. It is essential that LADWP understands the impact such a massive project would have on the site.”
“So many people fought so hard, endured and persevered to make sure our story, our history, is told and never forgotten,” added Embrey.
“We have to be vigilant that none of that is denigrated in any way.”
“Make no mistake—those incarcerated, and their families, have no interest in any development that would alter the landscape in a manner that would obscure the memory of what happened during World War II.”
Embrey noted that organizations in the Owens Valley such as the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Owens Valley Committee, and other concerned groups and individuals, also oppose the LADWP proposal.
“Many in the Owens Valley community stand against this project, citing that it is poorly conceived in its evaluation of the effect on the natural beauty of the area, the impact of maintenance, high fences and herbicides to wildlife, and the adverse effect to local tourist economies,” Embrey noted.
“Many residents of the Owens Valley worry about the LADWP,” Embrey added. “The owner of more than 80 percent of the land in the Owens Valley—by far, the largest landowner in the area—they not only control the water, draining it for consumption in Los Angeles, but they have failed to mitigate the dangerous environmental threats to the Owens Valley that their work has created.”
Embrey urged the community to sign the online petition, and to send letters to the LADWP expressing their opposition.
To view/sign the petition on Change.org, go to: <http://www.change.org/
The online petition drive will run through mid-January 2014.
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The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site.