With spring solidly here, we hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and warmer breezes. May is Bike Month — bicycling, not only good for the climate as a way to get around, is also a lot more fun than driving. (At least when those spring breezes are at your back.) Local businesses are getting into the spirit too — you might even have your compost picked up by bike!
The spring weather also helped 350 Humboldt as we held our first in-person events in more than a year. On April 23 activists met at Chase Bank and the County Courthouse in Eureka to protest Chase’s role as the world’s largest corporate funder of fossil fuel projects. Two weeks later 350 Humboldt supporters rallied at Arcata’s Wells Fargo branch protesting that bank’s financial support of the Line 3 project, a large oil sands pipeline being built in Minnesota. (Both rallies followed Covid-19 precautions.)
Events like these are meant to join the momentum of hundreds of similar rallies at Chase and Wells Fargo banks across the country so we can stop the pipeline of money funding fossil fuel development. But much of 350 Humboldt’s focus is on our local contribution to the global climate emergency we all face.
A case in point is the huge salmon farm proposed on the Samoa Peninsula. The environmental review (see this, or this summary by Humboldt Baykeeper) shows that the development would consume a vast amount of electricity — as much as an entire small city. Whatever other issues this development might raise, we feel strongly that the project should be powered by renewable electricity, not fossil fuels. We hope you can join us to convey that point, along with any other comments you may have, at the Planning Commission’s public hearing on Thursday, June 3, at 6 PM. You may also email comments by May 24 to [email protected].
Another local issue is the upcoming release of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) to guide Humboldt County and local cities in doing right by the climate. We’re asking for a “qualified” CAP — a term meaning that it’s consistent with SB 32, the law that established California’s climate goals, and will ensure that future development must conform to those goals. Some local leaders are pushing back, arguing that rural counties shouldn’t face those limits. Now is a good time to attend your local city council or board of supervisors meeting to let them know you support a “qualified” CAP, and a livable climate. Reply to this email if you’d like more information.
Of course we can’t always count on the decision makers of the State of California to make wise decisions. On the day before Earth Day, a State Assembly committee approved AB 1139, a bill to charge a monthly penalty of $50 to $90 on solar projects, including every small rooftop project in the state, and slash credits for energy generated. The bill would kill California’s solar industry. Let Assemblymember Jim Wood know what you think about this (call his office at 916-319-2002), and contact the Solar Rights Alliance for more information.
Another one to tell Assemblymember Wood about is AB 386, which would shield from public view the investment decisions of CalPERS, the huge retirement fund for most State of California retirees. CalPERS has been facing a lot of heat for favoring investments in fossil fuel projects — many of which have flopped.
Finally, save the date — Monday, June 7, at 7 PM — for local expert Aldaron Laird’s presentation “Humboldt Bay on the Threshold of Change.” Aldaron’s research has shown that between rising sea levels and local land subsidence Humboldt Bay has the fastest rate of sea level rise on the U.S. Pacific coast. Much local infrastructure — think Hwy. 101 and PG&E’s old nuclear waste — is at risk. Register here for the free talk on the bay’s rapid rise, what it could mean for Humboldt County, and how, with a lot of planning and an early start, we might be able to adapt.
We hope to see you there!