Goodbye to Green Path North

Caption:
PHOTO BY KRIS REILLY

The mountains south of Lucerne Valley would have been home to new power lines if Green Path North had become a reality.

Project would have brought more power lines through area

By KRIS REILLY, Editor

The California desert is under more pressure than ever, but conservationists can at least claim one big victory.

Green Path North is dead.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s plan to build new power lines near the mountains south of Lucerne Valley has been abandoned.

News surfaced recently that LADWP had tabled the plan due to funding concerns. The project was officially abandoned when LADWP sent out letters to concerned parties last week stating that it would withdraw its applications to build the lines, which would have carried power to Los Angeles from renewable energy projects in the eastern desert.

A community group called the California Desert Coalition was formed three years ago with the sole purpose of fighting Green Path North. CDC members were elated when the news broke last week.

“Everyone feels pretty good about,” CDC board member Jamie Hall said. “It’s still kind of surreal that three years of hard work paid off. Even LADWP said that pressure from community members is one of the main things that convinced them to withdraw. ... Our mission statement was just to fight Green Path, but we’ve learned so much that we hope we can keep going.”

Hall said the CDC — which meets in Yucca Valley — kept in constant contact with LADWP, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, trying to convince them that there are better ways to bring renewable energy to L.A.

“It’s an amazing group of talented people who were able to mount a campaign and LADWP just could not match it,” said Chuck Bell, a local resident who’s also a CDC board member.

Conservationists can’t take too long to celebrate their victory. There are still plenty of renewable energy plants coming to the desert and to Lucerne Valley in particular.

“The fight for Green Path is over, but the fight against these other projects is not,” Hall said.

And Bell warns that the area is still designated as a possible power line corridor. Even though LADWP doesn’t want it anymore, someone else might.

“We’d like to say rest in peace, but it might be and uneasy peace,” Bell said. “It’s still designated as an alternative corridor.”

Kris Reilly can be reached at kreilly@vvdailypress.com or at (760) 985-8372.