Mono Supervisors react to proposed hydroelectric project

By Deb Murphy

The Mono County Board of Supervisors didn’t mince their words or hide their feelings about the massive hydroelectric project proposed for Wheeler Crest, Lower Rock Creek and Owens River gorges at Tuesday’s meeting.

Bob Gardner

“What are these people thinking? Are they insane?” was Supervisor Bob Gardner’s reaction. Supervisors Stacy Corless and Jennifer Halferty described the project as “horrible and ridiculous,” and “appalling and far-fetched,” respectively. Comments from the public were equally adamant: Premium Energy Holding, LLC’s application to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission for a permit to study the feasibility of the reservoirs and penstocks had no redeeming qualities.

Supervisor Fred Stump whose district would be the site of the atrocity noted public safety issues with dams above Paradise and Swall Meadows in an area with seismic issues.

“The FERC imposed restrictions on dams in June Lake because of seismic problems,” Gardner added. “They’re wasting their time. They (Premium) should just go away.”

Stump started the board discussion with a list of serious flaws in the project, a closed loop system with water pumped from three reservoirs in one or both of the gorges to reservoirs on Wheeler Crest then sent back down to the lower reservoirs to generate electricity. Those flaws included the fact the project would cross private property and interrupt wildlife corridors.

Paradise resident Michael Sullivan told the Board there was “overwhelming opposition” to the project following a community meeting. “We’ve sent a letter to the FERC to stop this in its tracks,” he said. That letter had 124 signatures.

Evan Russell lives at the base of Rock Creek Canyon. “This would destroy the canyon,” he said. “It’s hard to justify. How did we get to this point?”

Jora Fogg with Friends of the Inyo asked the Board to “engage early and often.” That sentiment was echoed by the Supervisors who agreed to respond quickly rather than wait until the application was officially in the system and the first public comment period opened.

Fogg dropped a bomb during her comments. The Wilderness Act states: “The President may…authorize…the establishment and maintenance of reservoirs… needed in the public interest, including the road construction and maintenance essential to development….”

“We have limited authority,” said Corless, “but we have to dance on the edge of our authority to get things done that we believe in.”

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27 Responses to Mono Supervisors react to proposed hydroelectric project

  1. Chris May 20, 2019 at 7:32 am #

    This article claims Premium Energy Holding is staffed by former DWP engineers.


  2. Indygal May 16, 2019 at 7:27 pm #

    Canoeing on Wheeler Ridge!! Hahahaha!

  3. Philip Anaya May 16, 2019 at 6:19 pm #

    Victor Rojas of Premium Energy Holding LLC has reacted to opposition by amending the FERC application to construct the penstocks underground. The upper reservoirs are still in the John Muir Wilderness and there will be construction infrastructure, roads, drilling, geologic survey, in the next phase of FERC permit process. Obviously he either has a compliant client with the snap of the finger, a wink of an eye willing to triple or quadruple the costs of this boondoggle proposal or he’s blowing smoke, has no client but has hopes of finding investors and lining his pocket. His Haiwee Storage proposal is probably a bit more realistic and attractive to the LADWP but there are alternate components in a Wilderness area. We are not hearing much from the DWP as both these proposals would rely on a huge imposition on their infrastructure. If the LADWP is not complicit with either of these proposals then they should get busy, write some letters to FERC and end this madness. Victor Rojas has a history with the DWP. It is not unbelievable that the DWP could be behind the scene supporting either or both of these proposals.

  4. David Dennison May 16, 2019 at 7:56 am #

    Brookie……you can’t be serious,but in case you are,there already are many,many lakes,rivers and streams for the fishermen and women to fish,catering to your beloved out of town tourism..bodies of water that aren’t destroying the environment and negatively effecting the wildlife and wilderness…IMO,there is no “lagging interest” in fishing the Sierra,other than those that come up here and bitch and complain because they don’t catch their limit of record-breaking Trout in 10 minutes on opening day…and other animals,they wouldn’t benefit from this or any other man-made money-making body of water… I gotta close on this topic here,all left to say is it’s never gonna really happen anyway..

    • erik simpson May 16, 2019 at 10:43 am #

      Sometimes the dumber the project, the more likely that it’ll happen. Hope this gets nipped in the bud.

  5. John Wilder May 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm #

    Is that you brad?

  6. Brookie May 15, 2019 at 8:03 am #

    The reservoirs would provide great opportunities for fishing.

    This would enhance our local tourism-based economy and revive the lagging interest in fishing on the Eastside.

    Other animals would benefit from the aquatic habitat the reservoirs would create.

    Good for canoeing too!

    • LOL May 16, 2019 at 6:19 am #

      The reason demand for fishing is falling is obviously lack of supply. We should totes drown the climbing in the gorge to support a tourist activity demonstrably in decline. I, for one, especially look forward to hauling my canoe up the Wheeler Crest for some light exercise.

      In other news, does any one have an opinion on this company’s proposal for a similar project out of Haiwee?

    • Wheeeeee! May 16, 2019 at 8:18 am #

      You know what would make this proposal a real tourist amenity? Two words: water slide.

      Cha ching!

  7. Tiny Dancer May 15, 2019 at 7:29 am #

    Beware any government official, in this case Supervisor Corless, who wants to “dance on the edge of our authority.”

    Under the Constitution (U.S. and California) government must confine itself to clear legal authority; it isn’t allowed to go off “dancing” on the edges of the law.

    When a cop pulls you over, or a building inspector inspects your work, do you want him/her to be “dancing on the edge” of governmental authority?


    But the notion that Supervisor Corless has any idea about the Constitutional limitations of government authority is as crazy as this project..

  8. David Dennison May 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm #

    Nice post there magaman (lol)…..but you know,I know,we ALL know what and how your saying there,IMO,little to do with wanting “clean green energy” and its benefits…..I think more-so,if I look back to your first post ever on this story and subject,it’s first story,you and the other “magamen” across the United States these days,more so seeing it as “free enterprise”….the “right” for the millionaires to do what they want,as long as it’s making money,no matter who and what they step-on to try to get it…wildlife,private property,sacred lands,Wilderness areas,all about “free enterprise” and the money…we see it on the news everyday and night….proposed off-shore oil drilling, proposed oil pipelines across Native American burial sites,proposed invisible “walls” planned to go up, into and across private property ranches and farmland….ending Endangered Species Acts to open up “free enterprise” hunting and gun clubs and “gun rights”…. call it like it really is….

  9. Larry Pruce May 13, 2019 at 7:36 am #

    The almighty dollar!? Will it overtake our back country? If trump has his way this administration has absolutely no respect for the environment. Mono county? The citizens better rely upon themselves to protect Wheeler Crest and all the outlying areas this project will encompass. Look up Premium Energy on the web and see where their connections and corporate management team is..the emphasis is totally LADWP projects from Hawaiee project in southern Inyo to Wheeler Crest in Mono..don’t forget

  10. Magaman May 10, 2019 at 3:11 pm #

    Funny how effete Subaru-driving-craft-beer-drinking-yoga-mat-sitting-man-bun-wearing NIMBYs are all about saving the Earth from global warming but if a renewable energy project to create clean green electricity has the potential to interfere with their self-centered state of orgasmic Nirvana they turn into J. Paul Getty groupies.

    P.S. Our “leaders” allowed Swall Meadows to be built in a fire trap, so why are they now so concerned about a reservoir?

    • erik simpson May 13, 2019 at 6:43 am #

      You obviously don’t realize that this project has nothing to do with energy production? That it’s actually just a large storage battery? And it’s a long way from the sources of energy and would require a very large investment in transmission lines. Above-ground power lines started the Round Fire that devastated Swall Measdows.

      I live in Swall Meadows (it was homesteaded long before our “leaders” were born), and yes, we’re concerned about reservoirs built above our town in an active earthquake zone.

      • Magaman May 14, 2019 at 9:56 am #

        According to KSRW article posted 7 May 2019, the applied-for permit is to explore the possibility of building “reservoirs …in a closed loop system to generate approximately 5,200 MW of energy.”

        Yet you claim boldy that “this project has nothing to do with energy production.”

        You are clearly wrong; and thus manifest The Left’s profound propensity for prevarication.

        • erik simpson May 14, 2019 at 3:55 pm #

          It’s a “pumped storage facility”. It pumps water uphill (takes energy), then recovers part of it when it comes back down. No free lunch. It pumps when electricity is cheaper, generates it when it’s more expensive. The whole system requires energy, it isn’t a net producer.

      • Cocheez Whiz May 14, 2019 at 11:17 am #

        “Homesteaded” – Anglo euphemism for “stolen from the Indians.”

    • Inyo Citizen May 13, 2019 at 8:24 am #


    • shastatodd May 13, 2019 at 8:44 am #

      “if a renewable energy project to create clean green electricity”

      too bad it is not clean or green

    • Charles O. Jones May 14, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

      I could easily type out a list of equally misguided generalizations about the MAGA folks within our communities. But that would just make us both look foolish, so I’ll pass.

      • David Dennison May 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm #

        Charles O….I’ll do it…what I’ve seen and noticed,many (most) of them,just about all the same with their thinking….they follow their leader,there master and God….what he says,they say and agree with,whatever it might be,no matter how foolish it might be…what he thinks,it automatically becomes what they think…no thinking what-so-ever on their own…and if you don’t think and agree with them and what their master says,your a dumb-ass,a “snow-flake,or a communist…

      • quacque May 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

        The viability or sensibility of a proposal is inversely proportional to how rapid the onset of a single-issue troll and how rabid the troll’s rhetoric is. In this case, the moment the proposal came up, a freshly-minted troll was all over it, with meaningless arguments ready-made to appeal to an audience the troll thought would be stupid enough to start cheering and waving torches in support. Even people who might be interested in the idea seem offended to be lumped with this particular nutjob.

        • Magaman May 17, 2019 at 7:11 am #

          Thank you quacky for letting me know how annoyed you are with me.

          Like a campfire coals, you and your ilk warm my spirit.

          And thanks to everyone else for spending some time with me the dystopian world of Trumpamerica.

          Our as REM said, the end or the world as we know it.

          Trump proves to the world once and for all that, while America was once great, it is now a complete and utter fraud.

          • Quacque May 17, 2019 at 8:27 am #

            Keep earning those rubles, comrademan

          • Charles O. Jones May 17, 2019 at 8:59 am #

            Oh the irony in that last sentence is so thick you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. Congrats. Makes me wonder if you’re secretly a lefty just trying to make the right look silly. Either way, thanks for the good chuckle, Magaman.

          • David Dennison May 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm #

            ..magaman (lol)….being a kind of simple and naive person,having some trouble understanding your last post there….except for your last sentence written…a true statement,along with MATLSOTW (making America the laughing-stock of the World)…

  11. David Dennison May 10, 2019 at 6:02 am #

    …Wouldn’t that be something if the “president” heard about this,over-stepped his boundries (again) and issued one of his beloved “executive orders” ,over-ruling the Wilderness Act,and O.K.’ed this project,over-ruling what makes sense and what doesn’t ,and what the people want living here?….but ya know what ?….it wouldn’t surprise me a bit,even though he knows nothing about the outdoors, Wilderness areas and the environment,rarely walking outside except for jumping in a helicopter for a photo-op or a trip around a golf course in a golf cart…after all,it is in the State of his hated California,it involves a multi-billion dollar company,and without a doubt,since he knows “more than the Generals, Homeland Security,and the FBI”,I’m sure that would also include the environmental experts and possible dangers with seismic activity in these areas,among other things…let’s hope he keeps his Pinnocio-nose out of this.


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