As the Owens Valley Committee put on its annual fundraiser Saturday at Mountain Light Gallery, one of the speakers got down to action on environmental concerns. Vice President of the Committee, Daniel Pritchett, pointed to Inyo County’s large-scale solar development plan and how to fight it.
Pritchett asked the crowd of 150 or more to contact their County Supervisors, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA Water and Power Commission Chair Mel Levine to protest. The Owens Valley Committee has done its own lobbying on the issues with officials in Los Angeles. Pritchett also said that an LA political consulting firm had volunteered to work for the Committee pro bono. He added that another group has finished a short anti-DWP Solar Ranch video that will start to show in Los Angeles in April.
Pritchett said that LADWP would not have sent two engineers to talk to select groups in the Owens Valley, which they did earlier in the month, if the solar project were a done deal. DWP’s Solar Ranch is proposed for 2 square miles across from Manzanar. That site also turns up in Inyo County’s General Plan Amendment of 14 large-scale solar locations.
Pritchett offered a hand-out to contact the Inyo Supervisors who, on April 1st, will make a decision on the proposed General Plan Amendment and the industrial solar sites. That hand-out says, “The proposed amendment invites environmentally destructive management practices.” It also says that the proposed solar plan “represents the most serious threats to land management since the City of Los Angeles began acquiring Owens Valley property over a century ago.”
The Committee asks citizens to ask their Supervisors to slow down this whole process to allow full public discussion of the proposals and to send the plan back to the Planning Department for a complete revision. The proposed letter to Mayor Garcetti points to LA exploitation of the Valley.
Pritchett ended his presentation with the Owens Valley Committee Vision Statement which says, “We envision a valley in which existing open space is protected, historic land uses sustained, and depleted groundwater reserves and surface water flows are restored as Los Angeles phases out its dependence on Owens Valley water.”