As efforts to bring an offshore wind development to the Humboldt County coast ramp up, local stakeholders are vying to get a big ol’ slice of that offshore wind pie.
There will be inevitable impacts associated with the development, especially for folks living along the Samoa Peninsula where the terminal will be built and wind turbine construction, assembly and staging will take place. To mitigate potential impacts, BOEM offers a little something called a bid credit package. In this case, to qualify for the credit package the bidder “must commit to mak[ing] a qualifying monetary contribution to programs or initiatives” that benefit the greater Humboldt County community. Eureka City Council representative and soon-to-be Fourth District Humboldt County Supervisor Natalie Arroyo called for robust engagement with Samoa residents in particular. “We are pleased to see a General CBA credit, but the [five percent] doesn’t go far enough in addressing our region’s unique needs,” Katerina Oskarsson, a spokesperson for CORE Hub and the Network, told the Outpost. “We do not want to see the industry repeating the same boom-and-bust cycles that have created a legacy of underinvestment in our region. To be effective, community benefits must be designed by our communities, for our communities.” Read More
This morning, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District has announced a partnership with a private company — Crowley Wind Services — to build a full-service facility to support offshore wind development all along the West Coast.The development would happen at the district’s Marine Terminal II — a.k.a., the old pulp mill property in Samoa, which it acquired in 2013 — and would be located next to the planned Nordic Aquafarms onshore Atlantic salmon factory.
The Biden Administration announced this morning that it’s ready to proceed with putting two swaths of the ocean off Humboldt County up for lease to potential offshore wind developers.Leases for the two areas, which together total more than 206 square miles, will be sold at auction on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Three areas near Morro Bay will go out for auction on the same date. These will be the first offshore wind leases on the Pacific Coast, and the first in the nation to support what the Department of Interior is calling “commercial-scale” offshore energy.Read More
The Great Redwood Trail overcame a major hurdle late Thursday afternoon, when a federal regulator turned down the Skunk Train’s offer to buy 13 miles of track north of Willits. The Great Redwood Trail Agency, which owns the track, had asked the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates railroads, to allow it to abandon the track so it could start the process of converting it into a trail. The Board approved the abandonment, effective on June 19, unless it received a formal notice from an entity intending to buy part or all of the line. The Skunk Train, also known as Mendocino Railway, did so. Last Saturday, it filed its bid, known as an Offer of Financial Assistance, which the Board rejected within the five-day legal timeframe. The Board also lifted the hold on its authorization to abandon the line, which means that as of Tuesday, October 25, the entire 176 miles of track from Willits to just outside Eureka is officially an abandoned railway.
The Board agreed that Mendocino Railway “has not demonstrated financial responsibility.” Meanwhile, the Great Redwood Trail Agency has released its “Feasibility, Governance, and Railbanking Report,” which McGuire refers to as the “Master Plan.” He anticipates it will take two to three years to get through the details of construction, fire safety, and community engagement before trail building begins. There will be a virtual town hall about the master plan on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. Read More
The county is planning on mitigating the risks of sea level rise along a particularly vulnerable stretch of Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata by restoring salt marsh.Restoring about 17 acres of salt marsh along a 1.25-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Brainard and Bracut would reduce the risk of flooding and the erosion of the shoreline for at least a century, Humboldt County Public Works Deputy Director Hank Seemann told the commissioners of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District on Thursday.“If sea level rise continues to accelerate, there would be some point in the future where the salt marsh could get flooded out, but our study concluded it would likely have benefits for several decades,” Seemann said.The Humboldt Bay Natural Shoreline Infrastructure Feasibility Study, which was completed in September, illustrated the most feasible designs and what the shoreline is expected to look like once the project is complete.Read More