Inyo County Planning Commission & Department

Independence, CA 93526

Re: Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment

Feb. 26, 2014

Dear Commissioners,

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on such a profoundly critical land issue here in our county. One hundred years ago another large-scale land use change took place when Los Angeles completed its aqueduct. There are permanent impacts from actions of this size. Large permanent impacts are threats to our local communities and economy.

In the 1930’s local priest Father Crowley pointed out that the landscape of our county is the real basis for a sustainable economy. He said that tourism will be the backbone of business and he was right.

Of the three mapped proposals by staff, I prefer the ‘Least Developed’. I truly would prefer no renewables here, but compromise is always best. Certainly no renewables should go in Panamint Valley on the edge of Death Valley N.P. and none should be in Deep Springs Valley.

Concerns:

The map covers much of the Laws area where there are agricultural activities and permanent vegetation monitoring sites that are governed by the Inyo/LA Long-term Water Agreement. Please check this for possible conflicts.

The map shows the area east of the Owens River between Independence and Lone Pine that includes lands right down to the river channel. This intrudes on the Lower Owens River Project, the centerpiece mitigation in the Long-term Water Agreement. I ask that all the eastside lands be removed which allow the LORP to not be affected and also protect the view shed of the Inyo Mountains.

The Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway begins in Little Lake and runs north. The proposed map lines that route with possible renewable development through Rose Valley. That area should be omitted in order to keep the ES Scenic Byway ‘scenic’.

Owens Lake – Inyo County has been participating in the LADWP Master Project for several years. The Master Project covers 45 square miles of the lake bed and proposes no renewables at this time. The entire 110 square miles of Owens Lake are shown as open for renewable development in the GPA. At a minimum the 45 sq. miles of the LADWP Master Project needs to be dropped.

I recommend that the Inyo County Planning Commission send the Renewable GPA back to staff with suggested revisions. Once revised the Commission should consider accepting the revised GPA or rejecting the entire proposal. This would be the beginning of Inyo taking a position of protecting our world-class landscapes and insuring our future is not once again heavily damaged to meet the needs of areas completely outside our county.

As it has been throughout history the lands with most value and that are most important to our future are the LADWP lands around our Owens Valley towns. Inyo County must continue to press for LADWP land sales that will allow our communities to see reasonable and healthy growth.

 

Sincerely,

Michael Prather

Drawer D

Lone Pine, CA. 93545

 

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