Letters to the Editor, January 2, 2020

Clean energy for a carbon-free future

In your Dec. 9 issue, you quote Rex Bohn as saying that we haven’t had a bad air day in five years. 

That’s not true. The American Lung Association gave Humboldt County an F in 24-hour particle pollution in their 2019 State of the Air Report. 

In 2017, we had three days when particulate pollution was higher than the federal air quality standard, and in 2018 we had 6. This is not to say that our air on all the other days is healthy. Significant health impacts like hospitalizations, and premature deaths occur at particulate levels much lower than federal standards. 

Earlier this year the EPA disbanded a scientific advisory committee because they were going to recommend lowering the standard. Humboldt County is already close to exceeding the new standard recommended by these experts and will likely violate it in the near future, as wildfires continue to increase. 

One thing we can do to improve our air quality is end biomass pollution. Humboldt’s bad air days are due to episodic wildfires combined with daily pollution from our biomass power plants, which emit more particulate pollution than coal fired plants; and other sources such as road dust, wood stoves, and motor vehicles. 

As RCEA has nearly doubled the amount of biomass power in our energy mix, the pollution from biomass increased proportionately. Biomass plants are also a major source of climate pollution, emitting more greenhouse gas than all of Humboldt’s cars, SUV’s and pickups combined. 

Last week RCEA approved a 10-year plan to continue purchasing biomass energy at increasingly non competitive prices as the costs of wind, solar and storage continue to fall. 

The plan also says that if ratepayers want to breathe cleaner air, we should be the ones to pony up to pay for better pollution controls. 

RCEA justifies its pro-biomass position because biomass provides baseload power and a way for the local timber industry to get rid of sawmill waste. 

Energy experts say baseload power is an archaic concept and that the future lies in clean energy plus battery storage, which is more flexible, resilient, and soon to be more affordable than biomass. 

Soil and agriculture experts say that turning wood waste into compost or biochar instead of burning it would restore our depleted soils and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

That’s not as profitable as business as usual, but if we’re not willing to forgo some short term profit to avert a climate crisis, we might as well bend over, put our heads between our legs and kiss our you-know-whats goodbye.

At the very least, before we divert millions of dollars from investment in local clean energy to give a massive public subsidy to private polluters, we should require the biomass plants (and sawmills which benefit from their waste disposal) to open their books and prove that they need public help. 

Better yet, let’s invest in a clean carbon negative future. The stakes could not possibly be higher. 

Wendy Ring

St. Joseph’s exemplary care 

I am someone who takes time to give feedback and reviews when I am extremely happy with my experience.

This letter’s purpose is to praise the staff at St. Joseph Health Hospital and Dr. Kurylo’s office in Eureka, Calif.

I shattered my wrist on Sunday Nov. 17. I went to the Emergency Room and proceeded to have the most thoughtful medical care of my life. The treatment I received was excellent and deserves attention.

It’s worth noting that the week of my care at St. Joe’s, some of the staff were striking.

I made a point to educate myself by following the situation via a variety of news sources. From my research I stand in solidarity with the staff.

This made me even more determined to let everyone know how much I appreciate and respect the employees and the dedication they give to their life’s work.

From that first day at the ER to my follow up at Dr. Kuyrlo’s office and finally surgery to install a metal plate and 14 screws, every single staff person I came in contact with was kind, patient and professional.

Unfortunately, I witnessed several patients being extremely rude and disrespectful to the staff.

Still, the staff maintained their wonderful bedside manner. They didn’t seem in any way jaded or overwhelmed as one might honestly understand from people working in an emergency setting.

I cannot say enough positive things about my experience.

In an effort to thank every single person who assisted me I accessed my records with assistance from Lindsey Lightner and Jennifer Fulkerson. I sincerely hope this is a complete list and that each person accepts my gratitude.

Kimberley Settineri,PA. Frederic De Piciotto, MD. John Kurylo, MD. Amanda Steinheiser, PA-C. Ishai Erez, MD. Lara Abelar, RN. Esperanza Quinonez-Olufsen, RN. Kelly Carter, ORT. Timothy Halstead, ORT. Kham Moa, rad tech. Dan Durango, rad tech. Lyndsay Smedile, RN. Stephanie Schmidt, RN. Eric Lamb, RN. Annette Perdue, RN. Kimberly Chapman, RN. Ilan Kinori, MD. Stephen Viltrakis, MD. Timothy Dalsaso, MD. From Dr. Kurylo’s office; Miechell Perez, Tessa Mabe, Becca Thompson, Kevin Harris, Makaya Sancho, Benjamin Davis, Susan Macleod, Clayton Phelps.

We are so fortunate to have this level of care here in Humboldt County.

Amy Bohner



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