County Planning Deadly Dust
Upon Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, Adelanto, Barstow...

Posted: February 10, 2019

County 5th District vs. 1st District.

    In a recent press release regarding the county's Fifth District community of Bloomington, representative Supervisor Josie Gonzales reportedly stated, "The community definitely needs healthy businesses to thrive; businesses choosing to be good actors that comply with local, regional, state, and federal regulations enacted to protect all of our residents."

    Supervisor Gonzales definitely has it right.  Gonzales was addressing the residents of Bloomington being unfairly overtaken by a Wild West onslaught of illegal big rig storage sites.  A hundred illegal big rig parking sites have already been identified by county code enforcement.  The position of Supervisor Gonzales to openly voice outrage and to encourage county enforcement to "protect all of our residents"  from the damages of improper commercial operations is most refreshing coming from a county supervisor.

    Refreshing to hear because it is not something that the rural residents in Supervisor Robert Lovingood's First District can depend upon.  At best, Lovingood has been dishonest and disingenuous in representing the well-being of residents over the interests of big business.  At times, he appears to be tone-deaf to community concerns regarding environmental and public health issues.

    While lawmakers throughout the country and state take supportive positions on proposed legislation, and they lobby hard for their pending bills before their lawmaking colleagues, Lovingood refuses to publicly announce his position on pending legislation.  He plays the prima donna drama card.

Supervisor Lovingood
and the Renewable Energy industry.

    Why is it so difficult for Supervisor Lovingood to take a stand to uphold the existing County Development Code's Solar Energy Development Standards that restricts the placement of utility-scale solar sites where they negatively impact residential communities?  Why doesn't he crusade for community values and protection?

    Why is it also so hard to recognize the serious stupidity of building utility-scale solar sites within a Sand Transport Path that will injure the health of thousands of people?  What is wrong with showing common sense and doing the right thing to protect people?  Only a man without honor sells-out his neighbors.

    Supervisor Lovingood was elected by his district's constituents to represent their interests, not Sacramento's moonbeam ideals nor the special interests of foreign conglomerates.

Deadly Silicosis impacts the High Desert.

    The county's openness to profile, marginalize and eradicate the economically disadvantaged rural communities and encourage utility-scale solar replacement is overt discrimination to disenfranchise the property rights of the rural minority.

    Utility-scale solar's disturbance of the desert's fragile topsoil and the overturning of the ancient bacteria netting that holds the soil down, unleashes hazardous PM10 silica dust to the winds.

    The invisible crystalline silica dust that becomes airborne is recognized under California's Proposition 65 as a carcinogen.  When we breathe the desert's curse into our lungs, it becomes permanent and it can lead to a multitude of health problems.  Silica dust acts similar to asbestos, a silicate mineral.

    Utility-scale solar sites in the Lucerne Valley, the Morongo Basin, and the Mojave Valley are in Sand Transport Paths and are threatening surrounding lives and communities.

    Eastward winds can drift and suspend the invisible carcinogenic PM10 silica dust for days over Apple Valley, Victorville, Adelanto, Hesperia, Barstow, and others.  These cities should not carry the unfair chronic health burden and the social injustice of Sacramento's short-sighted Renewable Energy ("RE") mismanagement.

    San Bernardino County has less than 6-percent of the state's population.  County residents shouldn't be burdened with an unfair high disproportion of deadly dust exposure because others in the state naturally do not want utility-scale solar's ill-health in their own backyards.  You don't see solar panels covering California's capitol building.

    Supervisor Robert Lovingood's failure to openly decry the unacceptability of the utility-scale sites in Sand Transport Paths near residential communities demonstrates his ignorance of the impacts or his wanton disregard for the lives of citizens.

  No projects which would cause significant environmental effects should be approved as proposed if there are feasible alternatives or mitigation measures that would lessen those effects.  (Cal. Public Resources Code § 21000-21004)

    With the availability of rooftop solar, the destruction of the county controlled pristine desert with utility-scale solar is not necessary.  Furthermore, the solar industry has approximately 400,000-acres being set aside for solar development by the federal Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).  County-controlled desert land isn't even needed to meet the state's RE mandates.

    County-controlled land, however, is more favored by the solar industry because its location is more profitable to develop.  It is simply corporate profit over county lives.

Lawsuits may cripple county.

Attorneys who have successfully fought the large tobacco industry and who have been awarded billions on lung disease may now have a new Dragon to slay in the form of the County of San Bernardino.

    For instance, the community of Newberry Springs lies in a known Sand Transport Path.  As already acknowledged in the county's own published Newberry Springs Action Guide, "Generally, Newberry Springs experiences higher rates than San Bernardino County for hospitalization and emergency room visits for chronic diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."

    Respiratory problems are expected to greatly increase with the intentional development of a proposed 3,500-acre solar development adjacent to the community.

    Numerous utility-scale solar sites in the Lucerne Valley and the Morongo Basin are expected to add years of justifiable litigation.  As the county will be fingered as knowing better, punitive jury awards may bankrupt the county.

Supervisor Lovingood falling short.

    Misaligned Robert Lovingood hides by inaccurately claiming that he can not voice his position before a vote.  Therefore, he hides his transparency to his constituents and plays a political charade.

    With Supervisor Lovingood, his goal has been to principally concentrate on the expansion of business in the county, even at the expense of the health, safety, and the residents' quality of life.  There appears to be too much creamy political milk in catering to business.

    Maintaining San Bernardino County as a desirable and a safe place to live should be the top priority.  With that priority will come desirable growth and the prosperity of compatible businesses and jobs.

Refreshing 3rd District Supervisor.

    Newly appointed Supervisor Dawn Rowe of the Third District is refreshing.  As a newcomer to the Board, she is allowing her constituents to know her position on major topics.  She isn't playing hide-and-seek with her constituents.  She recognizes the huge dangers of placing large solar facilities upwind to residents and the legal backlash ramifications to the county.

    Rowe recognizes that lives are being cut short due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancers caused by PM10 silica dust being allowed to be suspended in our air.

Terri Rahhal and grandfathering.

    Terri Rahhal, Director of Land Use Services ("LUSD") has orchestrated that all filed solar proposals be grandfathered-in prior to the restrictions of the possible adoption of Policy 4.10.  This shouldn't be allowed.  Policy 4.10 would protect many rural communities from utility-scale solar development.

    What Rahhal calls "customary" grandfathering is an inappropriate and arbitrary action on her part that is contrary to the public's well-being.  She has repeatedly sided with the solar industry and against the county's citizens.

    Solar applicants have been long aware of Policy 4.10's development and the Supervisors should rescind any previous grandfathering as it conflicts with County Code.  Any complaining applicant should be met with a liberal interpretation of the prior referenced County Development Code § 84.29.035 (Solar Energy Development Standards) and the California Public Resources Code § 21000-21004.

    Applications should not be grandfathered automatically.  The minimum standard for grandfathering should be (1) Project approval; (2) bonded bonified funding to complete construction; and (3), a Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") to cover the entire project.  Without the three, initial county filings are only misty ideas that are not worthy to justify the exclusion and trumping of developing environmental and residential protections.

    The Board of Supervisors on August 8, 2017, approved the Renewable Energy & Conservation Element ("RECE") to the upcoming revision of the General Plan.  One portion called Policy 4.10 was requested by the Supervisors to be tabled pending review and acceptance by the Planning Commission.

    Rahhal was tasked with presenting Policy 4.10 to the Planning Commission.  This shouldn't have taken more than two months before then bringing it back to the Board of Supervisors.

    Unhappy that the existing Policy 4.10 did not favor the solar industry, without direction from the Supervisors, Rahhal took it upon herself to contact solar developers to develop an opposing LUSD recommendation to the Planning Commission (which the Planning Commission later unanimously turned down).

    Rahhal successfully stalled Policy 4.10 from returning to the Supervisors for over 18-months which opened the door for new solar applications to sneak-in and register to claim grandfather exemption to Policy 4.10.      

    This corruptive county process has shamefully advanced Rahhal from Director of Planning for the LUSD to the top overall Director of LUSD.  Apparently, the more you screw the citizens of the county, the higher you advance in county government under the Chief Executive Officer, Gary McBride.
    Terri Rahhal earlier handled grants from the state's Energy Commission totaling $1.1 million ($700K for SPARC & $400K RE initiative).  The grants consummated a county marriage with the state's Energy Commission's lust to unfairly impregnate the county with a grossly unproportional burden of the state's RE development.  Rahhal's pro-solar drive seems directed to prove to state officials and the solar industry that she can get the job done for the $1.1-million.

    Lovingood needs to be diligent in his obligation to address and protect his constituents by placing a check on the county staff's personal ambitions.

The solar game.

    The large utility-scale solar applicants are playing the County.  The solar applicants are in a land-rush to be among the first to file with the county in order to get their PPA applications filed with the power distribution utilities.  Some applicants cannot get financing until they have a PPA.

    None of the proposed large-scale solar applications currently on file with the county have a PPA to sell their proposed power production.  Power utilities like Southern California Edison, PG&E, and San Diego Gas & Electric are not issuing PPAs as they currently don't need more RE power.  Without a PPA, there is no power sale and no need for the project.  The current applicants are fishing.

    The large solar developers are making applications and taking their proposals as far as they can.  Getting muddled in a quagmire of time, regulatory hurdles, financing, fluctuating markets, change in their company's goals or expectations, some are flipping or dropping their project.

    Solar projects with no PPA should not be grandfathered.  They are not a bonified project.  The original applicant may not be the final owner after many years of flipping.  Rahhal's early grandfathering is an abusive injustice to the county and its residents.

Policy 4.10 vote.

    The Supervisors are expected to vote on February 28, 2019, on adding Policy 4.10 to the Renewable Energy & Conservation Element.

    A Board of Supervisors pro-utility solar vote will be playing God and taking lives.  It will be interesting to see if any short-sighted Supervisor will take Satan's bait.

Newberry Springs related past news blogs:
Newberry Springs January 2019 update. - 1/28/19
CSD considers pay increase. - 1/19/19
Newberry Springs' true poverty. - 1/1/19
Rational thinking was a no-show. - 7/27/18
Painful 7-months of CSD inaction. - 7/22/18
Newberry CSD Board exposing themselves. - 6/25/18
Newberry CSD remains paralyzed. - 6/24/18
Newberry families may move for health reasons. - 3/26/18
CSD Board's mismanagement may lead to deaths. - 3/11/18
Newberry CSD struggles with solar development. - 3/2/18
Newberry CSD's inaction threatens community. - 2/24/18
Communities collaborating for protection. - 2/11/18
Newberry CSD falls short against solar opposition. - 2/4/18

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