Letter to the editor: LADWP’s failed truth

ladwpSame 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.
Russ Monroe
Lone Pine

15 Responses to Letter to the editor: LADWP’s failed truth

  1. Pedro September 27, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Don’t worry, Mammoth screws up their own town and doesn’t rely on DWP to manage ineptly.

  2. Further Up The Road September 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    We were seriously thinking about moving to Mammoth, but you guys are too much under L.A.’s influence, and resistance seems futile. Sorry, we would have been good additions to your town. Best wishes and luck, sincerely.

    • Tourbillon September 27, 2013 at 6:51 am #

      We are honored that you have condescended to dispense a percipient if unsolicited civic diagnosis for our undeserved benefit. Even if this humble village located in the indifferent scenery of the eastern Sierra is incapable of inducing people of your quality to move here, may we nonetheless beseech you to visit from time to time, and perhaps confer additional enlightenment on eager if backward listeners?

      • Pedro September 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

        T, that’s right, you distract them while TOML picks their pockets.

    • Russ Monroe September 27, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      With this kind of leadership…………. We are already defeated!
      Following is the response to my, above posted, letter by our current 5th district supervisor.

      “thank you Russ,
      Your perspectives as someone living off the grid (for quite some time) are valuable. As I understate it, any ordinance or restriction that the county could enact would be overridden by state regulations that have taken away local permitting, regulation or control over these type of developments. This position is not one that leads LADWP to feel compelled to negotiate.
      thanks again for your well written letter and attending the meeting.”


      Wow Matt, so, your perspective on this situation is….. what?

    • sugar magnolia September 27, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      That’s right, nothing to see here, these are not the droids you’re looking for….keep on moving along to wherever else you’re thinking of moving….JK, but you get the idea, we’re pretty darn happy here and if everybody knew that, we’d get overcrowded and too expensive to live here. Come visit though!

      • Mammoth is a terrible place September 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

        Mammoth Lakes is chock full of weird people. People deliberately dress down. They smile and return every “hello.” Nobody talks with their teeth clenched. There are more bicycles than BMWs here. People from all races, creeds and colors all enjoy the mountain air, the deer, the bears. Most of us don’t really give a rat’s ass about what our real estate holdings are. We even have a Choose Civility Initiative that is rapidly becoming a poster boy for the country.

        Don’t think of moving here. You’d F—ing hate it.

    • Mammothite September 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Further Up –
      Thanks, and just stay exactly where you are … even if its in metropolitan California.
      (hey – overcrowding isn’t all THAT bad)

      Plus, It’s way too expensive to live here.

    • Buffalo Billious September 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Haha! That’s rich but hardly the Gandhi spirit Further Up.

      You may not understand and I apologize for letting the secret out, but, resistance to LA makes our water taste that much sweeter. In your avoidance to challenge we wish you a better town that hands you everything on a silver platter.

    • Desert Tortoise September 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Well, it’s not Orange County if that is what you were looking for.

  3. Eastside Dweller September 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    500 KW is less than an acre and there are several parking lots bigger than that in Owens Valley. I think appropriate zoning and location must be considered and not just size.

  4. Eastern Sierra Local September 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Well written Mr. Monroe!
    My confusion about the whole thing (I’m neither for nor against it) is I thought Mayor Villarogosa stated a few years ago that the City of LA was going to start the “million roofs” project and have residents in LA install solar panels? That way the electricity would be generated directly where it’ll be used. Fast-forward a few years later and DWP wants to build a solar array 250 miles from where the “use” is to occur? I’m no electrical engineer but building this project away and against the City’s own directives seems odd to me.

    • Philip Anaya September 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

      Well written ESL. I forgot about Antonio’s idea about the “million roofs project” It was a good idea idea then and a better idea now. ESL, is it OK to offer that suggestion as an alternative idea in commenting on the DEIR ? Would you be able to do it ? Revive the “Million Roofs Project” and save the Owens Valley viewshed. It’s a great idea, Local, and you own it.
      There were a lot of great comments made in Bishop. Even Mr. Holloway said “that’s a great idea” to more than a few of the folks, otherwise Mr.Holloway seemed a bit more restrained from Mr. Monroe’s letter. Your Letter was very helpful for some of us this evening. He definitly did not have answers to a lot good questions and good statements. The head of the Power Associates DEIR team was also there, but he was mostly, silent. I do not know how the DWP thinks that they can get away with having generalized half truth answers regarding environmental issues when there is such a large work force of professional scientific and outdoor adminstrative people and us wannabes who have seen this dumb down DWP methodology so much lately. It is must be an institutional instilled methodology that they go to class for.
      The new Board of Commissioners of the DWP is going to make the decision about this project. The input from Agencies, Groups and Individuals is supposed to be considered in the EIR. Additionaly but I might be wrong, only the knowledge, considered opinions regarding the specific mitigation issues and technical aspects of the proposed project that are in the record ,commented on, can be considered in litigation if that becomes necessary. So I hope everyone can think about this Project, the possibilty that it could double in size with the kitty corner adjacent Northland Power Project still being considered, I hope we can come up and send as many comments as possible to keep these Industrial scale projects out of the Owens Valley viewsheds.

  5. April Zrelak September 25, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    What is so discouraging, is the consistency with which LADWP runs their public meetings. They always fill the room with DWP employees who cannot answer questions. Mr. Holloway said he would make clarifications about details in the EIR. For the most part, he could not. Plausible deniability is the result when you buffer the knowledge base from the questioners.

    Your county supervisors are prepared, as far as we know, to sign off on an MOU that provides the buy-off for not asserting any rights, power or authority they (we) may have. They have yet to ask the constituents if they agree with this decision. When will we have public comment on the MOU?

    If you go to the meeting in Bishop, ask what assurances DWP can give that they will not increase line capacity or build another line to enable more power plants. Ask whether the ‘benefits’ to the county will be removed if the MOU is not signed? You will only receive double talk, unless Mr. Holloway did some homework.

    Then go home, turn off extra lights, turn down your water heater, dry clothes outside, unplug unused appliances, deal with a little cold and heat, and finally go outside and witness the last of the dark skies and uninterrupted views in California. Shed a tear for the future we are leaving our children.

    • Mongo The Idiot September 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      You are right April, this is the last of the open space, I have shed my tear and crushed what is left of my worthless soul.
      Why can’t they use magnifiers to concentrate the power of the sun on hybrid collectors and reduce the size of these things? You know it’s right around the corner, why not wait for the improvements and save the landscape?


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