Dear Inyo County Supervisors and Planning Department,

I must add my voice against Inyo County’s Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDA), as defined in your 2013 Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA), which would open the door to large-scale renewable energy projects in our Owens Valley. Any large scale solar including the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) and Northland project which would be right in front of sacred Winnedumah will be a blight on our valley, destroy it’s unique character, and forever ensure that whatever water we may regain will go to naught as we will no longer be able to do the farming that we should be doing in this hopefully still fertile land.

Why do you want to turn our valley into many ugly solar farms? Who will this energy be for, what will it power? Hasn’t our Owens Valley suffered enough to serve the needs of those who are not residents? What about the fragile plants and animals? We have already lost so many from both the pioneer settlements and the LADWP. Whole lives and lifestyles destroyed.

But yes, let’s build and provide solar on every building in the valley that has the correct solar facing requirements and that the owners are willing. Let us be ourselves energy independent. And let us not create another dependence of those who don’t reside in our valley. We are strong when we foster our own sustainability, but not when we go looking at outside venues for that. This is my reading of the historical accounts. And that is what is being done by the (REDA)/(REGPA) project.

Los Angeles can power the half the state of California with solar on it’s own rooftops: http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/study-las-rooftop-solar-potential-an-untapped-job-creator.htmlLet them.

And why should we be assisting a Canadian company (Northland LLC) in making money that will not stay in our communities. And in destroying our lovely Owens Valley. As well as why should we be assisting any other concerns/companies/corporations that have no regard for our Owens Valley except for it’s monetary and resource base. Distributed solar in the communities where it is generated is the only environmentally correct option—not these centralized/industrial boondoggles. They only enrich those who wish to charge us for the sun such as the Koch Brothers and those who the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) represents. The sun belongs to all.

Also with all the construction crews for these projects there will not be enough housing for them and our tourists on which our Owens Valley’s economy depends (since losing our farming economy). Once people realize that there is no accommodation for them they will stop coming, permanently. What will we do then? The land as well as our water will be gone and our economic base (which was the trade for our water, remember?). In my cross country bicycle trip, Bike 4Peace 2010 I noticed the sad effects of such degradation in the hospitality industry where there were large scale industrial operations such as would be the case if these projects are allowed. The rooms were not well kept and they were difficult to come by.

What do the residents of our Owens Valley really want? Have you even polled them, I mean more than a poll in the Inyo Register asking if people “liked” or “hated” the SOVSR. At least the Inyo Register attempted. Do we really even know about this? It is time for a plebiscite. Not on just on this, but overall for this New Century in our Owens Valley.

Please don’t join in this long line of those who have given away, stolen, and destroyed our Owens Valley: President Theodore Roosevelt, the United States Congress, William Mulholland, Fred Eaton, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and the pioneers some of whom are my ancestors (especially the McGees, who were responsible for and at the massacre at Owens Lake on March 19, 1863).

Also, further revelations about the original irrigation systems is soon to come out in film and otherwise. I refer to Jenna Cavelle’s Paya project with knowledge provided by Paiute elder, Harry C. Williams: http://americancultures.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/Cavelle.pdf for example. It will be a crime to further destroy those historical remnants. That irrigation and the beauty of the valley was what drew my ancestors Yaney to this valley, instead of moving on to Los Angeles as they had originally intended after leaving Sonora, post gold rush.

I submit these comments because it is a New Century. We don’t have to do things in the ways we did them in the last century/century and a half. There should be total community understanding and consent about where our Owens Valley is headed. I am tired/we are all tired of feeling powerless in regards to what happens in our Owens Valley. I am tired of my friends in the great Northwest up here in Oregon telling me that our Owens Valley “is dead and to forget about them.” Also you should know that the site for the SOVSR is on the former property of my great, great Grandparent’s MacIver’s (McIver) ranch that had to be sold to the LADWP. My great, great Grandfather Finley McIver may have sold it, but I doubt that his bride, my great, great Grandmother Jessie Skinner MacIver ever consented. Their marriage ended soon after as did the spelling of the last name. And I submit these comments because I am alive now and it is my turn to stand up for my home, our Owens Valley, before it is irrecoverably lost. And no matter who the landlord of the moment thinks it is; I have a duty to those children who are now growing up in our Owens Valley to leave them a valley in better condition than that in which they were born. Please join me. Thank you very respectfully and in community.

Yaney LeeAnn MacIver—Mono Lake and Owens Valley Committee Member

(Born September 11, 1955, Inyo County Hospital—dispersed but still in community with my beloved our Owens Valley, Sierras, Whites, Inyos, Glass Mountain, Round Valley, and with yourselves.)

PS: And if the landlord of the moment will not keep our historical buildings in repair as we learn from the Sacramento Bee:http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/05/6046630/outrage-in-owens-valley.html. They should be informed that we will repair andreopen those buildings. We can no longer let our communities suffer that way. It would of course be better if the landlord of the moment would collaborate with us in renewing our valley and working toward their own self-sustainability. I hope they will take up this offer of collaboration but after the last meeting with them where it was offered them by my comments and they didn’t afford a mere 30 acre feet of water for the Lone Pine FFA; sadly, I don’t think they are yet in collaboration mode. I’m sure we all say prayers for such a collaboration with said landlord.

Maybe those LA city councilors that the Manzanar Committee and Paiute Shoshone representatives met with over the SOVSR project will change that. I hope. Of course this (REDA)/(REGPA) totally goes against all the possible positive outcomes that those meetings might have/had. Those meetings could even possibly change the face of the LADWP. And further the (REDA)/(REGPA) denigrates the Manzanar and Paiute Shoshone communities in our midst and dispersed who are our friends, neighbors, and citizens of our valley as well (some of whom are the real landlords of our Owens Valley).

I know a lot of work went into this report and I believe the Inyo County Planning Staff were doing their job as they understood it, however, it is time to let it pass away. And it is time to work on planning for the New Century and the challenges with whichClimate Change will beset us in this our already environmentally and economically challenged beloved Owens Valley.

Tuvaiju 

Qapla’

Leave a Reply