Will public opinion affect Inyo’s Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment?

Between Independence and Lone Pine - One of fourteen Renewable Energy Development Areas proposed throughout the County.

Between Independence and Lone Pine – One of fourteen Renewable Energy Development Areas proposed throughout the County.

Bureaucratic processes sometimes leave out the voice of the people. In the case of the Inyo County Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment, citizens

Inyo Planning Director Josh Hart

Inyo Planning Director Josh Hart

have insisted they be heard. But will the changes they want actually take place? Next Tuesday, April 1st, the Inyo Supervisors will offer their comments on the Plan Amendment which is also the project description.

According to Planning Director Josh Hart, the Supervisors will not vote on the General Plan Amendment. He said they will provide comments on it. Then, planners will refine the Amendment which serves as the environmental project description. Hart said there will be many more public meetings as part of the CEQA process; but he did admit that the farther down the line the project goes, the more difficult it is to make significant changes.

Vice President of the Owens Valley Committee, Daniel Pritchett seemed to agree that now is the time to make changes when he said, “April 1st is a crucial time because it is when the contents of the final document will be decided, de facto. If the Board of Supervisors directs the staff,” he said, “to use the existing General Plan Amendment even with modifications as the basis for the Programmatic EIR, we know in advance the final document they will formally rubber stamp will be a disaster.”

The Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment spells out 14 industrial-sized solar development areas in the County. Hart said it’s very doable to take some of those away or change them. The 358-page staff report on this issue includes a list of 16 alternatives on how to proceed. Planners recommend continuing with the General Plan Amendment they have prepared. Public petitions with more than 1,000 signatures ask the Supervisors to reject that General Plan Amendment.

Will the Supervisors do that? Board Chairman Rick Pucci said, “The Board of Supervisors will give Josh some consensus of where to go if anywhere.” Pucci said the Board will not “adopt” the Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment but will comment on what it should look like. Will the substantial public outcry against the Amendment have an effect on the Board? Pucci said, “Absolutely. The public comments have been very helpful to me.”

Asked what his specific recommendations will be, Chairman Pucci said he does not know yet. He’s considering many suggestions.

In addition to moving ahead with the Draft Plan Amendment, the Planning Staff Report also recommends renewable energy development on BLM Areas and other bureaucratically designated areas. The staff recommends both small-scale and distributed generation facilities. The staff does not recommend ceasing the current process, does not recommend the use of intensive or less intensive alternatives, and does not recommend changing the megawatts allowed in each proposed Renewable Energy Development Area. The staff also does not recommend only allowing small-scale renewable energy projects for private on-site use.

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Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
8 years ago

I support the solar plan whole heartily. What’s also a shame is the lack of reporting on those who actually support solar development in inyo county. There’s quite a few people calling there supervisors voicing support.

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
8 years ago

ESL; You do not support anything pseudonym, even your own stated bigotry. You repeatedly pontificate your ignorance here, but you do so failing to justify a word of it with logic or fact. The supervisors do have to take responsibility for their actions. Voting to endorse this plan they have… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
8 years ago

What’s funny about this whole thing is that the renewable energy part of the General Plan is required by the State under SB 375 and AB 32. I’m pretty sure that the same people who voted for Obama, Jerry Brown, and the majority of Democrats in the State House are… Read more »

Nancy Bright Masters
Nancy Bright Masters
8 years ago

As a lifelong Republican and a board member on the Owens Valley Committee, I take strong exception to your characterization of environmentalists as consisting of only liberal Democrats. The Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln was also the party of Theodore Roosevelt who supported the newly-formed conservation movement and the… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
8 years ago

And that is the EXACT reason why I SUPPORT solar development in Owens Valley; un-used land going to waste not creating solar power-what a shame!

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

What a cheap shot Eastern Sierra Local! if your going to call out names like that, you should identify yourself and own what you say! Not hide behind some pin name.. Please don’t act like the republicans and democrats listen to the people, they listen to the donors and lobbyist’s… Read more »

April Zrelak
April Zrelak
8 years ago

The Supervisors are our elected officials. Josh Hart is only an employee who is a department director. This is supposed to be participatory government, wherein our representatives work for us. Keep this in mind and in the minds of the elected officials when addressing concerns. Citizens pay the bills and… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
8 years ago

With an undying love of the Inyo, voices will be heard . With a never ending effort, voices will be heard . The future of the Inyo is at stake . Our voices must be heard and our leaders should hear our words now . They will only grow louder… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

“The voice of the spirit”? Lol. No, attorneys and legislators will be heard

The Aggressive Progressive
The Aggressive Progressive
8 years ago

The Leaders and decision makers of Inyo county have not seen this kind of constituent pressure.. They must show appreciation to the public comment’s and VALID concerns, in the same light they appreciate the votes that enable them to fill the supervisor seat. True democratic leaders will represent the entire… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago

You do realize that on BLM land the County has absolutely no authority to restrict or cancel a project? The best the county can do is come up with a planning document that the BLM and County can both agree on, along with the solar project sponsors, in exchange for… Read more »

Inyoite
Inyoite
8 years ago

That is not totally true about BLM lands in Inyo County. Projects cannot go forward without considering the DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan). That plan is an attempt to control where these big “renewable energy” projects are placed: http://www.drecp.org/ The DRECP includes BLM lands. Many of us who care… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Inyoite

DRECP is a Federal document. What comes out of that process is the law on Federal land and the best the BoS can do is influence it. There is no veto power for counties. The county is offering a planning process to make the outcome of the DRECP more palatable… Read more »

mongo
mongo
8 years ago

BK,
Was the article on Independence courthouse move without public input deleted?
I cant seem to find it.
M

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  mongo

Not sure which story you mean. I need more info.
BK