At least meet Nordic Aquafarms' standard – do an EIR
Humboldt County appears hell bent on approving massive projects like the mega cannabis grows and the (proposed) fish factory. In every case, citizens and environmental groups have been clamoring for EIR’s. So why is it that the county is so reluctant and unresponsive to the concerns of its constituents in demanding EIRs for major projects?
Indeed, how can our reps (supervisors) claim to represent us when they choose to overlook the overwhelming consensus and demand for an EIR?
Our communities are facing significant impacts from these mega projects in the aggregate, from drought to accelerating climate change (wildfires, etc.). Yet, no study has been done to ascertain the cumulative impacts in the aggregate from all these projects put together.
Under CEQA, an EIR requires a study of all projects combined (in the aggregate) on our precious resources. Why wouldn’t our reps want to have these studies/info before making decisions on major projects that impact our lives if they are truly looking out for our interests? I really don’t get their reluctance.
And what does it say when a major corporation (Nordic Aquafarms), which has agreed to an EIR, is more responsive to constituents than our elected representatives? Sadly, nothing could be more ironic.
If you must approve the grow (don't), start small and phase it in
As Appellants and neighbors in the appeal of the Humboldt County Planning Commission’s approval of Arcata Land Company’s (ALC) 8-acre cannabis grow in the Arcata Bottom before the Board of Supervisors (BOS), we’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Supervisor Bushnell for protecting the health and well-being of people in the Arcata Bottom during 6/22/21 hearing. Supervisor Bushnell expressed what we all know: cannabis has an incredibly strong smell and it’s a smell that lingers. It’s also something that can cause problems for “sensitive receptors” and we are grateful to her for wanting to get more information about a new, unproven system before voting on this corporate cannabis grow.
Our concerns about this corporate industrial grow are numerous (please see our website www.savethearcatabottoms.com and our Facebook and Instagram pages at Team 27th for more information). We are definitely not anti-cannabis. We fully support small, independent farmers (and their workers) who grow in an ecologically sound manner and who are considerate of their neighbors.
The 6/22/21 Appeal hearing before the BOS was continued to Tuesday 7/13/21 at 1:30 pm. The two primary issues to be discussed at the continuation are odor management and the size of the grow/phasing in.
There are so many unknowns about this project. The proposed odor management technology is new and even in earlier iterations it has not been used in climate conditions like the Arcata Bottom. Will it effectively deal with odor? Will it eliminate problems with noise? We do not know. As so well-acknowledged by Supervisor Bushnell at the 6/22 meeting, consideration of the human and social costs needs to be taken into account as does the potential that things may not go as well as the Arcata Land Company hopes.
Ensuring that this is not detrimental to the health and well-being of the residents of the Arcata Bottom is vital. Phasing the cultivation in, starting at one acre or less, would allow real-time data collection for this new, unproven technology and would allow for changes to be made if problems arise. The phased in approach, with a 2-acre cap (per the General Plan designation for the two parcels as discussed by Supervisors Wilson and Madrone at the 6/22 meeting), while not our first choice, is one we could live with. It is also more fair to small growers, many of whom have had to jump through extensive hoops to get approved for a grow a fraction of this size.
If you agree with us, please let your Supervisor know. We do not know if there will be time allotted for public comment during the meeting on 7/13/21 but you can always call or email your Supervisor to let her or him know your opinion. We will be posting information about how to listen to the 7/13 hearing on our website and social media pages as soon as we have the information, likely Friday 7/9 in the afternoon. We will also post whether or not public comments will be allowed during the hearing and if they are, how to call in and comment.
Jim Cotton and Appellants