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County unveils a much scaled-down REGPA

April 2, 2014

Julie Fought, Richard Potashin, Sue Hutson and Paul Fretheim (l-r) share their view on the draft REGPA with travelers on Edwards Street in Independence before Tuesday’s board meeting. Many of the residents in attendance Tuesday said they were happy with the new REGPA proposal, and look forward to working with the county to refine it further. Photo by Mike Gervais

More than one Inyo County resident wondered aloud Tuesday if the Inyo County Planning Department was playing an April Fools Day prank when it presented an updated draft Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment to the Board of Supervisors.
After months of defending their draft REGPA in the face of significant public outcry, planning staff presented the Board of Supervisors with a new draft alternative for the REGPA that reduces the amount of land available for industrial-scale renewable energy development and uses careful wording to ensure that the county is not soliciting renewable energy projects.
A number of residents and visitors to the area who have openly opposed the previously proposed draft REGPA as overreaching and flawed said they were relieved and proud to see democracy at work.
About an hour before the board met to discuss the REGPA, the Owens Valley Committee hosted a press conference on the Independence Courthouse steps to protest the proposed document and urge local leaders to take a harder look at the draft plan to ensure the Owens Valley doesn’t get overrun by industrial-scale solar farms.
Speakers at the press conference included several residents who later shared in the board chambers, as well as Alan Bacock of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley, OVC President Mary Roper and Bruce Embrey of the Manzanar Committee.
The board’s REGPA discussion opened with Planning Staff presenting the new draft, which, according to Associate Planner Cathreen Richards, incorporated most of the comments residents provided over the past two months.
For the full story, read the Thursday, April 3 edition of The Inyo Register.

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