Fracking and harmful drilling exacerbate the climate crisis and environmental racism. Low-income communities and Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities are disproportionately impacted by neighborhood drilling and toxic pollution. In addition, these dangerous methods can lead to earthquakes, increased droughts, groundwater contamination, and oil spills.
To move our state and the nation away from our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels and build towards a Just Recovery, we need thousands of Californians, like you, to ask your state senator to support SB 467 to protect the health of frontline communities and fight for climate justice.
Nearly 80% of Californians support a 2,500-foot human health buffer zone for oil operations, and 74% of Californians agree that elected officials should take immediate action to protect their constituents from the health impacts associated with oil production.
Mandated buffer zones are common in other oil-producing states, including Colorado, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. New York, Washington, and Maryland already banned fracking. It’s time for California to do the same.
SPEAK OUT NOW: https://act.350.org/letter/CA_SB467/?
Solar Project in Blue Lake
You can still comment and then speak to the Planning Commission in support of the Hatchery Road Solar Project.
The project has been moved to the 4/1 PC hearing. The staff report and agenda with links to the Zoom meeting will be available the Friday before the meeting at https://humboldt.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Comments will be accepted up to the day of the hearing. Send to . [email protected] or send snail mail to: the Humboldt County Department of Planning and Building, 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA, 95501.
Below is a project description from the Planning Department’s environmental review document. [Available at: https://humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/92179/RPCA-Hatchery-Road-CEQA-Initial-Study_011121-PDF ]
The project description is followed by a number of talking points, some of which you may want to include in your letter. Thanks to Mary Sanger for compiling these.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The project will include a small-scale commercial energy generating facility that would construct a 4 megawatt (MW) solar facility on approximately 25.70 acres. The proposed project includes approximately of 13,664 solar photovoltaic (PV) module arrays, 32 string inverters, and associated electrical conductors and equipment needed to convert sun energy into usable AC power. The project will enhance electrical reliability for the existing Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) grid system. A small drainage though the middle of the property will be avoided by a 150’ setback leaving the remainder of the land area covered by the solar arrays, which will be mounted on a racking system attached to steel piles driven into the ground. Single axis tracking technology will be utilized to allow the modules to efficiently track the sun throughout the day and maximize the efficiency of solar collection. The project proposes ongoing agricultural uses on the property, including but not limited to sheep grazing or the keeping of honey bees, on a rotational basis whereby pasture areas would be occupied for variable periods, allowing pasture rest periods to promote optimal vegetation quality management and maintenance of the project’s pollinator habitat.
HATCHERY ROAD SOLAR: REASONS TO APPROVE THE PROJECT
- We appreciate that Humboldt County is taking the climate crisis seriously. It is a threat that is global but the solutions often come down to local decisions like promoting renewable energy installations.
- This project will reduce our dependence on the natural gas fired power plant on Humboldt Bay, reducing the county’s greenhouse gas emissions. The power the project provides will help mitigate the fact that Humboldt County peak power utilization exceeds the capacity of the transmission lines into the County.
- It will be a move in the right direction to enable the county to achieve the 100% renewable electricity by 2025 that they have committed to. If approved, the project can be operational by July of this year!
- The general plan designation for the parcels is agricultural and it specifies that renewable electricity installations are allowed. The property will not be converted out of agricultural. The proposal to use the property for bee habitat and or grazing have been used successfully at other solar installations around the world. The Planning Department document (link above) evaluates use of agricultural land for solar in great detail. The decision to approve this project is clearly based on significant and careful consideration. It should be noted that the underlying land, soil condition, or land use are not changed permanently, as they might be with other land use.
- Most of the jobs in this project are in the construction phase. It would be an economic benefit to the County if those jobs would go to local, living wage contractors.
- Some comments have suggested aesthetics is a problem. But aesthetics are time-bound and culturally specific. As the Planning Department document says: “Viewer response may be negative for viewers who place a high value on open space, or positive for viewers who place a high value on renewable energy. The limited expanse of the project feature and the limited importance of the affected viewpoints result in the impacts being less than significant.”
- Under CEQA, possible impacts are significant or not. This project has very few significant impacts and the County agrees that all of them can be mitigated to insignificance. As the Planning Department document summarizes: “The project will not degrade the quality of the environmental, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal. Although no special status species were observed on the project site, potential biological impacts related to special status bird species would be reduced to less than significant levels… In the event archaeological artifacts are found [mitigation measures] would reduce potential impacts to less than significant levels… Therefore, impacts would be considered less than significant with mitigation incorporated.“
- We suggest to the developers that they consider offering a community benefit. For example, the community wants to put in a trail from downtown Blue Lake out to the hatchery and a financial contribution could make that a reality.
STOP THE MONEY PIPELINE
Last Earth Day, April 22, 2020 and the following three days we asked people to join the national campaign to Stop the Money Pipeline — the flow of cash from banks and capital firms to fossil fuel developers.
Currently Stop the Money Pipeline has launched #DefundLine3. On March 31, more than a dozen banks will have a $2.2 billion loan renewal to Enbridge (the toxic company who is building the Line 3 Pipeline). Send direct emails to CEOs and call board members to put pressure on these banks who are funding Line 3. Take action here.
Just since the Paris Climate Accords in 2015, big banks have invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels. To get involved with Stop the Money Pipeline campaign click here.
Many of those banks are familiar names locally. Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi (sponsor of Costco’s popular credit card). You may have insurance through Liberty Mutual, or a credit card through Bank of America (they’ve given $106 billion in credit to fossil fuel companies).
And if you’re personally able to invest, you may be doing so through Blackrock, which oversees huge investments in fossil fuels and deforestation projects — even as renewable energy outpaces fossil fuels in profit — see this article.
Some local Stop the Money Pipeline actions are below. Here are a few ways you can join:
Post a review of these companies on a review website.
You don’t need to be a customer to have an opinion on their destructive practices. Are we getting a good deal if we suffer climate disaster?
Here are some review sites:
Afterward, let the company know why you gave them the review you did.
Write a letter to the editor
Local newspapers want to hear from you — so share your thoughts. You may want to review their letter guidelines, which you’ll find at the web addresses in parentheses.
930 Sixth Street
Eureka, CA 95501
email to: [email protected]
North Coast Journal (https://posting.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/ContactUs/Page)
310 F St.,
Eureka CA 95501
email to: [email protected]
Mad River Union (https://madriverunion.com/submission-guide/)
No hard copy accepted. Email letters to: [email protected].
Commit to moving your account if your institution doesn’t stop funding fossil fuels
Do you have an account with any of the companies? If so, please consider writing a letter asking them to divest from fossil fuels. Commit to changing to a different institution if they don’t. You can post your letter on social media after sending it to your bank or other firm. If you have already moved your account, cut up your old bank or credit card on video and post it to YouTube or Facebook.
We are currently finding ways to participate in 350.org’s Just Recovery campaign. To see the “We Demand a Just Recovery” YouTube video use this link. To learn more about the 350.org campaign click here.