Letter to the editor: uncritical thinking from the dias

inyosups2014New upholstery needed 

by Daniel Pritchett

It’s long been asserted that the upholstery in the chairs used by the Board of Supervisors (BoS) contains a secret chemical inhibiting the supervisors’ ability to think critically about statements made by their staff.

Another example of this chemical’s effects was seen when the BoS recently considered the proposed Munro Valley solar facility near Olancha.  As so often happens, an inadequate environmental review had been done and local residents objected to the project with good reason.  In addition, the Planning Department had drafted a general plan amendment (GPA) — applicable to the entire county — to facilitate the project.

The Owens Valley Committee (OVC) wrote and asked that the BoS at least modify the GPA so it would apply only to the parcels in question.  OVC even submitted sample language showing how the amendment could easily be re-worded.

What happened?

Planning Director Josh Hart reportedly asserted that the GPA applied only to the Munro Valley project parcels but cited no evidence to support his assertion.  Anyone who understands English and reads the amendment (only four sentences long) will see he is incorrect.  It contains no language constraining its application to the Munro Valley project.

What did the BoS do?

It asserted the GPA applied only to the Munro Valley parcels and approved the project.

We can expect more un-critical thinking in the next few weeks when the BoS railroads through the Adventure Trails program (December 2).  And BoS consideration of the Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA) is just around the corner.

But didn’t the BoS just approve a renewable energy general plan amendment as part of the Munro Valley Project?  It certainly did!  However, the forthcoming REGPA will be worse than the one for the Munro Valley project, because even the planning department admits the preferred alternative in the next REGPA will create significant adverse impacts to the viewshed, cultural, and biological resources.  And, of course, it will keep the door open for industrial-scale solar in the heart of Owens Valley, in the very places the public just last spring emphatically said should be closed to industrial-scale solar.

What a sad legacy this BoS will leave.  Instead of helping ranchers and Bishop homeowners dried up by DWP, this BoS helped DWP try to send more water down the aqueduct via the Owens Lake Master Plan/Project.  Instead of trying to sustain our quality of life, it is about to approve the Adventure Trails program, which will inflict green sticker dirt bikes and OHV’s on Bishop Park and residential neighborhoods throughout the valley.  And, last but not least, it has done its best to keep Owens Valley open for industrial-scale solar notwithstanding the indignation of its constituents.

I hope when the new board convenes in January its first action will be to re-upholster its chairs.

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PUZZLED
PUZZLED
7 years ago

After reading about last Wednesday’s meeting in which the Munro Valley Solar Project was approved, I keep thinking I am missing a critical piece of the puzzle. Apparently several people requested that the decision by the Board be delayed so that all the information that was presented by the public… Read more »

Charles James
Charles James
7 years ago
Reply to  PUZZLED

The County and the Supervisors have their own own legal counsel and they do not agree with Ms. Robinson’s assessment on CEQA. She is no expert on it herself and, btw, she admitted as much during the meeting that she only became aware of the project the week before and… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  PUZZLED

Puzzled, generally to be in compliance with the Brown Act, all material used to consider any measure to be discussed at a public meeting of a legislative body ought to be made available to the public along with the agenda for that meeting 72 hours prior to the meeting. This… Read more »

Charles James
Charles James
7 years ago

A “secret chemical inhibiting the supervisors’ ability to think critically about statements made by their staff.” Really? Of course not. There is a reason that county staff and county supervisors may not pay as much respect or attention to the OVC’s arguments or positions on issues when it allows members… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

There are some important issues missing from the Munro Approval. The current REGPA Process now being funded by the CEC (California Energy Commission) is the result of a lawsuit brought several years back that questioned the establishment of a REGPA without a CEQA process and the public process that goes… Read more »

Michael Prather
Michael Prather
7 years ago

The approval of the Munro project reflects agreement with the general public comments during the REGPA hearings – smaller scale solar, no wind. Thank you Inyo BOS for listening.

Michael Prather
Michael Prather
7 years ago

The approval of the Munro Valley project reflects the public comments during the REGPA hearings. In response to those comments heard from the public, the Inyo BOS approved Munro Valley, a less-than-20MW local community project that will require no new tower transmission. The public asked the Board to oppose large… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago

Money wins every time! Off to the funny farm with the little white men in their little white coats. People drive me crazy. Why are they so #%}<<~ blind? Why do most of us live here? Certainly not for the beauty of industrial solar farms. What's more important, money or… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  Waxlips

Pretty hard to live without money Waxlips. Owens Valley doesn’t seem to have a lot to offer the outside world that will bring a lot of money in. Look at the economic condition of the region. Oh go blame LADWP for everything but if the valley was filled with agriculture… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago

Were you offended TD?

Eastside Bum
Eastside Bum
7 years ago

Is it possible that the Board of Supervisors are just trying to put the best economic interests for Inyo County first? If the area has seen little to no growth during the past several years (or more), then one can see the benefit of allowing these developments and projects. In… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

The approval of the Munro Solar Project is the first of a Feed-in Tariff PV Solar Projects in Inyo County. Count fingers and toes there will be more . The application of the new Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment Disributed Solar Photovoltaic Policy LU-5.9 Overlay to the project site is… Read more »