Editor’s note: This essay paints a picture of what El Monte Valley could look like in the future; Sunrise Power Link has been built; solar and sand-mining projects are planned or proposed.
By Rob Foster
August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--Early mornings, I like to walk outside with coffee in hand and sit down facing the morning sun. Gazing northeast the scar left from the Sunrise project are clearly seen. Sun lit power towers draped with wires and ten acres of stripped land below scenic El Capitan Mtn. SDG&E promised the ten acre site would be returned to its original undisturbed state. SDG&E destroys the ecosystem leaving an ugly scare in a matter of months. Thank you for the reminder of a broken promise.
As I look east, a glare catches my eyes.
The OCI Solar’s 2.0 megawatt solar photovoltaic facility, owned by OCI Company Ltd, Seoul Korea, panels are reflecting 1st morning light along with a low level steady hum. What was once productive agricultural land is now a mass of 8,065 Renesola 310 watt solar panels each 15 feet high, a collector substation and inverters. To the south SDG&E’s tangle of poles and wires trail up the Diegan Coastal Sage Scrub hills from the facility. Thank you OCI Solar and to those who are against developing a coherent strategy utilizing our existing human footprint to harvest the suns energy.
Looking west the 199 acre sand mine site comes into view, which was once southern coast live oak riparian woodland and agricultural land. In its place, a 150’ deep discolored sand mine pond. The irritating, sub-woofer noise from the deep throated rumble of haul trucks and loaders warming up for the work day reverberating across the valley. Later in the day, the valley will be clogged with dust, exhaust and mining equipment. Thank you Michael Beck of the Endangered Habitats Conservancy for partnering with the El Monte Nature Preserve Mine and with your influence as Vice Chairman (representing District 2) of the San Diego County Planning Commission the project was sent forward to the County Supervisors, who voted their typical “4 to 1” approving the sand mine.
With the biosphere destroyed, gone are the red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, cooper’s hawk, golden eagle, turkey vulture, barn owl, western screech-owl, white-tailed kite, western bluebird, acorn woodpeckers, common poorwill, coastal california gnatcatchers, rufous-crowned sparrow, northwestern San Diego pocket mouse, orange-throated whiptail, coastal rosy boa. Also gone the trail riders, the hang gliders/para-gliders soaring above the valley, cyclist riding through and city dwellers escaping.
Sad cry from how past generations left the majestic and historic El Monte Valley. Instead of preserving and protecting for future generations our generation destroyed.
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