Years ago, we were fortunate to have the legendary Lew Wolff speak at one of our events in Silicon Valley. He drew a big crowd, over 400 attendees, and this was all because he wanted to move the Oakland Athletics, the venerable baseball club he owns, to San Jose. Silicon Valley was brimming with excitement! But, as with any great initiative in this state, there was an army waiting to fight his plans to its death.
The army won. The A’s ain’t going anywhere.
During his speech he explained the situation in a way that perhaps only a person who has been through the shredder of legal opposition a few times can explain: “California is the kind of place where if you find the cure for cancer, someone will oppose it,” he said to a roaring crowd. Funny as that may be, it is the state of affairs in this state.
So, why do I bring up Mr. Wolff up again? Well, let me try to set up the story.
California is the kind of place where if you find the cure for cancer, someone will oppose it
California is on fire – the wrong kind – and has been for the better part of the last decade. Drought, exasperated by effects of climate change, along with overgrowth of the forests and our decades of carefully channeling Smokey Bear’s advice, brings an annual deluge of destruction to the state in the form of fires and smoke, which we all breathe. Homes, businesses and cities are lost in some cases within hours. The state’s monopolistic utility, PG&E, has been found at fault in some instances, and their reaction has been to shut off power. Sometimes for days.
Innovation, the one resource this state has in droves, comes to the rescue, and with it Intersect Power offers to provide at least a part of the solution to the whole burning issue of environmental calamity our state is facing – a massive solar farm smack dab in the middle of Alameda County. The Aramis Renewable Energy Project proposed a 100-megawatt solar installation near Livermore that would not only be the largest in the Bay Area but would also power 25,000 homes and businesses in conjunction with another solar farm in Livermore. It would add 400 union jobs to the local community and provide some agricultural benefits, too. The solar installation would become home to a beekeeping operation that would produce 5,000 pounds of honey per year. It would also have a chicken flock that would deliver 70,000 eggs per year and allow local sheep to graze around the solar panels during parts of the year.
Hell NO!, say the opponents and their lawyers. This is a betrayal of public trust, they claim. This hideous installation would tarnish the scenic character of rural north Livermore, according to a story in the Mercury News.
Have you seen this arid patch of inhospitable dirt (see video below)? Better yet, have you seen anyone admire or pay homage to this stagnant rural dirt bed? Scenic character of rural north Livermore? Is there such a thing?
The answer is no. Yet the opponents, who count Friends of Livermore, Save North Livermore Valley and Friends of Vineyard and Open Space in their ranks, want this disease to plug along.
So, they will sue. They will delay and obfuscate and fight tooth and nail to keep California smokey hot. They may succeed or they may just lose steam in their dreaded effort, but this is really nonsensical ambition, and it promises to continue our suffering of the consequences of natural calamities that we can actually prevent.
Let’s hope they fail and just let us all get along with progress. What we’ve done with the state in the 20th century clearly was not better for the long term, so let’s focus our efforts on things that will make life better and easier for all. Let’s support the solar project!
Vladimir Bosanac is the co-founder and publisher of The Registry. Opinions expressed in this article are his own, and they do not represent the opinions of The Registry or Mighty Dot Media, Inc.