Monument Ridge, one of the sites proposed for the Humboldt Wind Project. Photo by Rob DiPerna.
The Humboldt Wind Project, proposed by Terra-Gen, is rightfully drawing significant controversy and public attention. Proposed outside of Scotia, California, the project seeks to place 47 turbines in a remote and ecologically important area. Home to rare and federally-protected flora and fauna, the project site has been described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as “inappropriate” for wind energy development given the potential impacts.
EPIC appreciates the need to take action on climate change, and industrial-scale renewable energy development is one of the kinds of actions necessary to actually minimize the harm associated with our climate crisis. That said, the proposed Humboldt Wind Project is in a poorly sited location and accordingly, is likely to result in significant impacts to wildlife and to Wiyot cultural resources. For that reason, EPIC has been intimately involved in the project throughout its development. Our goal has been—and this has not been without controversy from many of our friends both in favor of the project and opposed—to avoid, minimize and compensate for impacts to the maximum extent possible under the law. You can read EPIC’s comments on the DEIR here.
Previously, we have said that we do not believe that the company or the county has met this threshold, and absent significant project changes, we opposed approval of the project. As a result of EPIC and other’s participation, some meaningful project changes have occurred—yet still not enough to satisfy our expectations. You can read a press release sent from EPIC, American Bird Conservancy and the Northcoast Environmental Center about our position here.
The last opportunity for Humboldt County to meet its legal obligations before the Planning Commission is this Thursday, November 21, at 4pm. At that time, the Commission is able to either deny, approve, or approve with additional conditions of approval. EPIC has recommended a suite of additional mitigation measures that the Planning Commission add as a condition of approval. EPIC’s letter with suggested additional conditions of approval is available here.
EPIC appreciates that ours is only one voice in this community dialogue, and we respect that this project requires a difficult and careful balancing of values. Significantly, there is a voice of particular importance and that is that of the Wiyot tribe and they have been firm in their statements that this project will irreparably damage a sacred and culturally important place to their people. On one hand, the many site-specific impacts mentioned are of great concern. On the other, the project is able to produce low-carbon energy and could potentially reduce our reliance on the local natural gas-powered Humboldt Bay Generating Station. EPIC encourages everyone to read about the project, consider these difficult questions for themselves, and present their conclusions at the meeting.
See you at the Planning Commission this Thursday at 4pm.
What: Humboldt County Planning Commission meeting regarding the Humboldt Wind LLC, Conditional Use Permit and Special Permit.
Where: Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 5th Street, Eureka
When: Thursday, November 21, at 4 p.m.