LA meeting on solar ranch draws opposition


LADWP headquarters, Los Angeles, hosted some 75 people on the solar ranch project.

At a meeting in Los Angeles Saturday, Japanese-Americans and Owens Valley people expressed their views on Department of Water and Power’s plans to build a mega-solar plant across from the Manzanar Historic Site in the Owens Valley. According to local people at the meeting, DWP also extended the public comment period, for the second time, through November 26th.

Les Inafuku, Superintendent of Manzanar, had asked for a meeting in Los Angeles to accommodate the southland Japanese-American community. The meeting was held at DWP headquarters and saw some 75 people attend, including DWP General Manager Ron Nichols. People there said Nichols made an opening statement about DWP’s need to develop renewable energy but did not respond to the many objections to the project.

According to locals in attendance, 29 people spoke and all opposed the project. These included grandchildren of Manzanar internees and former internees themselves, human rights organizations and locals such as Mike Prather who spoke against a project of the proposed scale in the Owens Valley. Assistant Professor Barry Lehrman of Cal Poly spoke. He and his students have organized a project to detail the need for an equal relationship between DWP and Inyo-Mono.

The Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project would unfold on 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 has lodged numerous complaints in their comments on the project, including 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 Inyo General Plan, housing impacts and impacts to the Lower Owens River. The County’s comments are available at, and DWP’s Draft EIR can be seen at all County libraries and at

Meanwhile, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA released a study that advocates installation of solar panels on 5% of available rooftops in LA County.  Their study says this would create 29,000 new jobs and reduce carbon emissions. They call it the “solar atlas” and a guide to planning where to expand renewable energy.

Send comments on the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project 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 or


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16 Responses to LA meeting on solar ranch draws opposition

  1. Joaquin Murrieta November 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Lets face it; Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra is just as precious as The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Bryce, Jackson Hole, Glacier NP, and many other North American locales. Dovetail this with the rich history and coincidental preservation of open space and you have an asset that cannot be impaired.
    Publicity on these issues will continue to grow until Federal action prevails.
    It was a greedy and poorly thought out mistake for LA to propose the panels in open space.
    Time for damage control LADWP, try getting approval to install smaller fields adjacent to town limits and support legislation to protect your watershed from impairment.
    – Less environmental impact
    – Closer to point of use
    – Closer to housing and supply
    – Better community support
    – Better security

    • Desert Tortoise November 18, 2013 at 9:59 am #

      The Owens Valley equivalent to Yellowstone or Yosemite? Really? It’s a nice place but not remotely comparable to a national park.

      • Joaquin Murrieta November 18, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

        Dessert Tort,
        The Owens Valley is a strip only a few miles wide sandwiched between Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Park, Kings County National Park and Ancient Bristlecone Forest. It is home to The Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway, Manzanar, the historic Fish Hatchery, numerous Native American sites, hiking, fishing, mountaineering, bird watching, pack stations and (hunting; allowed in National Forrest and BLM).
        I am not seeing any logic in your statement involving similarities between Owens and National Parks, I believe most people would disagree with you. This renders your claim subjective to your personal agenda, probably financial, and not the best possible outcome for the Owens Valley environment or future generations.

        • Desert Tortoise November 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

          Agenda. Sigh. Everyone doesn’t have an “agenda” so cut the nonsense. There is no agenda. I live in the same region you do. It is a nice area but it is not of the quality of a national park. There is nothing in the Owens Valley to rival Half Dome or Yosemite Falls. We do not have dramatic vistas like Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (one of my favorite places) or an evocative coastline like Pfeiffer State Park. I am partial to the desert but there are craggier and more dramatic desert vistas.

          Owens Valley is a nice place to live if the isolation and lack of access to shopping and entertainment don’t bother you (my beef is having to drive to Palmdale or Bakersfield to buy quality professional attire for my work), but don’t try to make it out to be more than it is. That isn’t an agenda, that is seeing the world for what it is without letting emotions cloud my vision.

          • Benett Kessler November 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

            Maybe some people prefer the cloud of emotion through which to see their lovely surroundings. We see differently.

          • JeremiahJoseph November 19, 2013 at 8:50 am #

            May I beg to differ Desert?
            Don’t mind if I do, The lakes in the sierras are pretty dang majestic, That big rock they call Winnedumah is also very much another gazing point of wonder.. The cultural significance in the southern inyo (Coso Mountians/Hotsprings) is a place of healing and ceremony (that’s national park status in my book), that may not have any relevance to what you hold to your heart, but consider the fact it is place with awesome powers, powers that have not the boundaries we imagine when we feel we own something… My emotions may cloud my vision at times as you mention, but I would rather express then suppress, we live in society where collectively we have shut down emotionally, so the new generations need more and more violence and more and more excitement in order to not be bored.
            What about the sunrise’s and sunset’s here? That’s national park status!

  2. Trouble November 18, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Joaquin-I’m not sure putting them closer to home is a very good suggestion. I really don’t want them in my back yard.

  3. dusty dick November 18, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Put this pet project in Keeler for a micro-viability study, Roof a % of the houses with solar panels . if model proves successful by the powers that be. Surround the town with 1200 acres of LA power Panels, Keeler is a scarred and overworked toxic waste dump anyway,, likely quite easy to appease the good citizens of Keeler with power au gratis and free light bulbs for life, maybe a new big screen, a microwave oven and upgraded internet connection,,. they won’t ask for much compensation for the invasive fact of more dust raised and a monotonously altered view shed.,
    though the fact of mass intrusion by busy bodies driving in circles disturbing the peace could be a compensation issue,. along with the witnessing of more corpRotcratic dollars drained or turned to dust with waste management in action, is a tough dirtclod to swallow, (hard on the eyes and mind too). but hey,, better than a nuclear reactor for helping supplement power for our light bulbs,
    This proposed project’s construction and ongoing maintenance would create many meaningful and good paying LOCAL jobs for able bodied citizens in Southern Inyo, cleaning the dust and bird phood off the panels, plus the definitive health benefits for Keelers long depressed economy and unreal estatistic values. Maybe someone will open a mini mart and gas station and solar gift shop, Many of the local long time residents are very experienced dusters, if not expert class dust raisers and removers, and the rest are old and conservative, so they won’t use many of those free light bulbs or au gratis power for that matter, in their respective lifetimes.. a win win investment situation for all participants involved, Keeler-ManzaPower

  4. Eastern Sierra Local November 18, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Joaquin Murrieta- is it true you knew Frank Shaw? And what would Frank Shaw do about this?

    • Joaquin Murrieta November 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Don’t know frank Shaw.

  5. Russ Monroe November 18, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Excellent proposals Joaquin.
    How about taking the improvements a step or two farther? Such as:

    -set those ‘smaller’ panel fields up as alternative “propulsion” stations, places where electric vehicles can charge up and hydrogen powered vehicles can “gas” up at no cost to the user
    -invite alternative propulsion manufactures from all over the world to prove the viability of their products by providing fleets of the nonpolluting vehicles to this new system at no expense, as long as each vehicle is able to be master controlled by a computer net work that could keep these no-cost forms of transportation on assigned roads and accesses

    This could be a win, win ,win, system. Both counties could have the free (to the user) public transportation that we need, vehicle generated pollution could be reduced dramatically, DWP would get the “offsets” that they need to keep the state and federal governments happy, both DWP and residents would net all of the ‘free’ transportation they want to use, and visitors would have a ‘free’, in the county, transportation system that would enhance their experience while limiting access to appropriate areas.
    Gosh, if the DWP could be convinced that letting the few thousand residences and business in the two counties have their water and power at no charge also, DWP would be on the way to repaying these two counties for the DWP’s previous crimes.
    I am not proposing any new inventions… just off the shelf technologies that are already in use.
    This could be done! So what about it Nadia Parker?

    • Ken Warner November 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      You are on the right track but many smaller solar generation stations are not better than one big one. In fact they would be more expensive and more disruptive to the environment. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why.

      And lets try to keep the invention, innovation and jobs in America — preferably in Owens Valley — rather than giving them away to Asia.

  6. Joaquin Murrieta November 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Trouble, Dusty Dick, Russ, that is what I’m talking about; the free flowing exchange of ideas aimed at best possible solutions that most people could live with.
    Excellent work!

    • JeremiahJoseph November 19, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Free flowing exchange of ideas? I like that platform, gonna get a lil controversial here…. lets imagine we (Human/Western Capitlaism) is the MAIN reason our planet is going through major climate destabilization, lets imagine we are the reason the CO2 levels have climbed to the levels they are today, wouldn’t we want to look at all the waste? wouldn’t we want to look at the current status quos of using paper products, shipping, individual packaging, all the stuff we take for granted but has a high price in the long run, like deforestation and overwhelmed landfills.
      The Hemp Industry has many solutions, like paper products sustained through a top soil plant that grows yearly rather then a tree that takes 30 years, Bio degradable plastic, Fuel, Hempcrete (hemp concrete that happens to be a carbon sink), the list goes on and on, the fact Hemp has the ability to take carbons out of the air in more ways then one is what we need, if you believe the carbons and the humans are to blame in the first place..
      It’s time to think outside the box of propaganda if we really want to mitigate this global problem.

  7. Lecktrix November 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Let it go… Big buisness will prevail.. Solar power is good. It generates work, maintenance work, etc. Protect whats beautiful… The desert floor is the desert floor… And you wont be able to see it from the manzanar site, unless you climb the search tower, but thats off limits to us.

    Technically, if you are a tourist, you wont ever see these fields… Only the hard core tourists will see these. No one ever goes past the airfields of Manzanar. … If they do, its mine exploreres, fisherman, geologists, hikers, 4wd, dirtbiking, im sure im leaving out a lot of groups, etc.. They could care less whats on the valley floor.

    What I mean about ‘protect the beautiful’ means the high country… Where your cabin is…Ben Holgate… Where the hiking trails are, where the crazy hills, 4wd trails, endless mines, fishing streams, rock climbing, rockhunting, camping, etc…. The valley floor is a desert and a good source of energy… Let them have it.

  8. dusty dick November 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Lecktrix must have a short or juice leak in his cranium or fuzeboxx.. the desert floor holds equal beauty, enviromental value and meaning to anything /place you mentioned.(cabin in the pines crap)…like why not tap the water up in the high sierras, behind your cabin- at its source instead of pumping the valley floor dry,,that’s the mindset you’re implying. friggin.idiocy dot duh.. and what’s a hard core tourist?? other than your/our all of inyo’s bread and butter!! in the list you gave as hardcore & other groups. sounds like discriminatory tourism, favor the cabin owner and rock climbers, skiers elite hikers and shun the lessor people who may enjoy the simple worthless-“save 4 energy”_ desert floor as “they” dont give a s”t anyway right..wrong!, ..i am sure many do care what’s down here…,,you must be a trickle down effect snowboard cronie with some bad cromzomes, what goes up must go down,,why not built all this solar infastructure along both sides of hiways a bit south on 14. That way you can have a job down there and relocate to Boron or Cali city or commute from bishop..i presume you are from bishop and presume by your Licktrix moniker you may technically have employment interests or are just a simple corporate promo suckup…let us know..Oh yeah thats a “sniper tower” replica at manzanar, not a “search tower”….,give this guy a new fusebox and a pair of binoculars someone pleeze!!


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