Los Angeles to Build Controversial Solar Plant Adjacent to Former World War II Internment Camp Site
Despite criticism from historians, environmentalists and the general public, the City of Los Angeles is moving forward with a $680 million, 200-megawatt solar energy plant to be constructed on the site of a former Japanese American internment camp during World War II.
The Southern Owens Valley Solar Project, headed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), will install 1 million photovoltaic panels across 1,200 acres owned by the city. That land is about 3.5 miles east of the Manzanar National Historic Site.
Congress established Manzanar as a historic site in 1992—a little more than 50 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor—to honor families who lost loved ones in the event leading to U.S. involvement in World War II.
"For the sake of our visitors' experiences and the memories of our former internees, we must advocate for the area to remain undeveloped," Manzanar Supt. Les Inafuku told The Los Angeles Times.
The facility would produce 440 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, which enough to power about 75,000 homes. Its creation would also play a large role in the city meeting state renewable energy goals. The southeastern portion of Owens Valley is one of the best potential solar resources in the country, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The site would take about five years to build and provide 300 jobs, according to 89.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio.
While groups like the Center for Biological Diversity are encouraging the city to install the panels elsewhere, officials say the renewable energy project won't impact the Manzanar from a cultural or business standpoint. The site receives about 82,000 visitors each year. Randy Howard, director of power systems planning and development for DWP, says the solar farm would be visible from the historic site, but "it wouldn't jump out at you."
Inyo County planners are also reviewing proposals from private companies to deploy renewable energy on private land just north of the Manzanar site.
According to the Inyo Register, DWP's plan near Manzanar includes a 600-by-500-foot (300,000 square-foot) substation and a 3,000 square-foot, single-story maintenance building.
"There is no agency that regulates vistas and views," said Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Committee, the nonprofit that tried to preserve the site with a Change.org petition. "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."
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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