The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to move ahead with a proposed solar plant, despite objections from both historical and environmental groups. The 200 megawatt plant is set to cost the government $700 million. Those opposed to the project say the plant will damage the wildlife of the area as well as the site of a World War II internment camp.
The state wants to construct one million photovoltaic panels across 1,200 acres it owns in Owens Valley, which is just north of Los Angeles. The new plant would be a mere 3.5 miles from the Manzanar site that was used to hold Japanese Americans during the war. Officials from the National Park Service as well as various Japanese American organizations have expressed concern over building such a major structure so close to the area.
Officials believe it will disrupt and destroy the isolated character of the site, which is important from a historical context to understand what the lives of those internees was like during such a major moment for the United States and the global community. These critics of the plant readily admit they have little legal basis for trying to slow down or outright stop the construction, because there is no federal agency dedicated to preserving the views of an area. But that is not stopping them from trying to appeal to the general population.
"We have moral authority, an appeal to the city's social conscience. We are urging the DWP to consider alternative sites for its solar farm, perhaps on structures in downtown Los Angeles," Bruce Embry, co-chair of the organization Manzanar Committee, told reporters.