Bouquets and Brickbats: Expedite permit for flood control

You’ve gotta love our wacky regulatory system. To prevent the flooding of homes in Oceano, the county Board of Supervisors has OK’ed a plan to deliberately breach the Arroyo Grande Creek levee in such a way that valuable farmland would be inundated instead.

That would happen only in an emergency, though county staff is pessimistically predicting that it’s bound to occur at some point, given current conditions. Among other problems, athree-mile-long flood control channel has become so choked with sediment that it has lost an estimated 85 percent of its capacity, according to a 1999 study.

The county is trying to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would allow removal of some of that sediment, but it could be spring before the permit is issued. And in the meantime, valuable farms are sitting ducks.

Under the circumstances, wouldn’t you think a permit could be expedited?

We’d float some brickbats downstream, but we don’t want the channel to become any more clogged than it already is.

Investment a boost to solar power

The announcement that Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings has agreed to buy First Solar’s commercial plant on the Carrizo Plain was hot news across the nation this week. While business analysts stopped just short of anointing Buffett the savior of solar, there was wide agreement that his interest will fuel confidence in an industry clouded by the Solyndra controversy and competition from Chinese solar panel manufacturers.

“ this (sale) is something that tells people it’s time to take solar power seriously,” industry analyst Bruce Bullock told the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to being a big boost for renewable energy — something that will pay off for the environment — this is excellent economic news for SLO County. The 550-megawatt solar farm is expected to employ 400 workers during construction and according to a Cal Poly study, it will inject $417 million into the economy over the 25-year life of the project.

Sure, he can afford his own flowers, but Buffett nonetheless deserves a big bouquet of SLO-grown sunflowers for investing in the county’s fledgling commercial solar industry.

Good luck at the big game

Arroyo Grande High’s football team has a shot at a CIF title tonight — its first since 1998. Along with our best wishes, we’re tossing the team a blue-and-gold Eagle pride bouquet. It’s been an exciting run, and whatever the outcome tonight, the Eagles have been phenomenal. Congratulations to the team, the coaches, the fans and families.

Editorials are the opinion of The Tribune.