Letters to the Editor Sept. 18, 2019: So many wrongs need righting, but are we right about what’s wrong?

Clamor for solar

When I saw the picture in your paper of tPGE consumed all of page 5 (Union, Sept. 4) alerting their customers (us) of impending Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to reduce the risk and damages from transmission line wildfires. 

Their only recommendation for emergency electricity production is an operable gas generator.

Is generating tons of GHGs a rational response in our climate crisis? What about solar photovoltaics?

Cities all over are implementing rooftop solar and onsite solar powered minigrids, including resilience hubs where inadequately sheltered people can find solar powered refuge. People dependent on uninterrupted electricity for health reasons could be secure with just a few panels and batteries, or an EV that can act as one. Neighbors and neighborhoods are sharing solar power from sunny to shady spots. The technology is available and so are financial incentives.

Why aren’t PGE, the county, RCEA, social services, and enviro groups like 350.org clamoring for distributed solar electricity production so that we are resilient during emergencies that shut down the grid? 

For example, The East Bay Community Energy Board of Directors “…approved $5.1 Million dollars for the coming year for implementing the Local Development Business Plan —Alameda County’s groundbreaking local Green New Deal. This plan includes programs and projects that benefit East Bay communities by investing in local renewable energy resources, reducing our energy footprint, providing local clean energy jobs, promoting social justice, and incentivizing community projects.” 

HSU’s solar map is effectively an advertisement for our solar potential: midcdmz.nrel.gov/apps/calendar.pl?site=HSU;year=2019;month=8, which is why Schatz Energy can install a 2.5MW microgrid at our foggiest airport in the world.

Perhaps the county’s singular focus on feeding the grid with utility scale onshore windpower detracts from what we really need?

Ken Miller

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Trail CEQA underway

Along with our Northern California Horseman’s Association my wife and I hosted fund raisers in support of the Arcata Ridge trail. We raised over $12,000 and looked forward to using and seeing others enjoy this trail. 

However, over the course of the last nine years Arcata still has not developed an approved plan for the connection between the Arcata section and the Sunny Brea section over the county’s Fickle Hill Road. Those plans will need to account for public health and safety including proper signage.

 City and county staff are aware of the many legitimate safety concerns related to putting trail users onto a mile and a half of a very narrow and dangerous county road. With no plan or authorization, the City has built and actively encourages use of this essentially illegal trail. This radically increases the liability risk should someone get hurt or killed. If such a tragedy were to happen, we can say goodbye to this trail. 

 We reasonably expected the City would obtain the required authorizations and meet its environmental review obligations. Instead, City staff hired CCC crews to cut down trees, hack away at brush and dig into a very steep hillside during the middle of a very wet winter. No notice. No plan. No erosion control.

Neighborhood families who had been on record as supporting the concept of the project were forced to file suit. Unfortunately, the trust in the City has been broken and the money the community raised (and then some) has been used instead on attorney fees trying to defend their illegal actions.

 Fortunately, the judge agreed a temporary restraining order was necessary, and the project will now go through the CEQA process. That order may just help save a life and save the trail.

 Uri Driscoll

Local control needed

I suggest that you really do not want to miss this month’s Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group luncheon Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the Samoa Cookhouse.

The presentation at this month’s luncheon will be about getting local jurisdiction over coastal permits for port-related projects. 

California is home to 11 major ports. All but one — the Port of Humboldt Bay — are busy, working harbors. Why is the Port of Humboldt Bay not one of them?

One contributing factor may be that the Port of Humboldt Bay is the only California port subject to State Coastal Permit jurisdiction. The Inland ports are outside the State’s Coastal Zone, the San Francisco Bay ports are explicitly excluded from the Coastal Act, and the South Coast ports have acquired local Coastal Permit jurisdiction for their individual projects. 

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group believes this needs to change. There is a way our local legislators can work proactively to correct this inequality. This is the topic for the luncheon… a strategy for getting local jurisdiction over coastal permits for port-related projects. 

The luncheon is a “no host” event. Lunch starts being served at noon; and the presentation starts around 12:30 p.m. 

Larry Henderson, chair
Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group

Coast Toast success

Trinidad Coastal Land Trust would like to thank the many businesses and community donors who made their Sept. 7 “Toast to the Coast” fundraiser in Saunders Park a huge success. 

Proceeds from the event support the Land Trust’s work to protect the coast from Little River to Big Lagoon and offer education programs that connect people to the coast. 

We couldn’t have done it without the support of our dedicated volunteers, and Business Partners: Pacific Outfitters, Symbys Inc, Eric Cecchin (Forbes and Associates), Sarah Corliss (Forbes and Associates), Stephany Joy (Remax), Sierra Nevada, Satori Wellness, Patty Stearns (Coldwell Banker), Lost Whale Inn, Murphy’s Markets, Trinidad Lions Club. Also generous contributions from: Alder Design and Development, Beau Pre Golf Course, Bergeron Winery, Charles Netzow, Danny O’Shea, Dixie Gorrell, DnE, Greta & Erica Daniels, Headies Pizza & Pour, Holly Yashi, Humboldt Maritime Museum, Jack & Shore McCleod, Jeff Stanley, Jewell Distillery, John Paul Marcelo, Kayak Zak’s, Larrupin Café, Lighthouse Grill, Marc & Beth Chaton, Mike & Catherine Peterson, Moonstone Crossing Winery, Old Growth Cellars, Patty & Keith Stearns, Paul Rickard, Peter & Diane Cohan, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Requa Inn, Richard Johnson, Riley Quarles, Sammy’s BBQ, Six, Rivers Brewery, Tami & Steen Trump, The Oyster Lady, Tom Cover, Tom Lurtz, Trinidad Bay Charters, Trinidad City Hall, Trinidad Inn, Trinidad Trading Post, Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department, Windan Sea, Zack Stanton and Matt Beard. 

Learn more about the work of the Land Trust at trinidadcoastallandtrust.org.
Carol Vander Meer, director of community engagement
Trinidad Coastal Land Trust