Pete Nichols

Nov. 22, 2007

The headline read “Oil Spill Fouls Shores in San Francisco Area.”

58,000 gallons of bunker fuel, the most toxic and least-distilled of petroleum products, gushed from a container ship in San Francisco Bay late last week, impacting beaches up to 20 miles north of the entrance to the bay.

The full extent of the damage done to the San Francisco Bay, the coast and the wildlife that live there has yet to be fully assessed, and perhaps never will. But if we here on the North Coast needed yet another reason not to pursue a container port for Humboldt Bay, this is one to seriously consider.

Humboldt Bay has one of the most treacherous port entrances in the Pacific Northwest. The container ship responsible for the San Francisco spill was same size vessel that would be negotiating the jaws of Humboldt Bay’s mouth to off-load its container cargo.

It would be just a matter of time before one of those massive container ships ended up perched upon the South Jetty, coating the bay and coast in an oily goo. It is not a matter of if, but when, it would happen.

Feb. 18, 2008 Press Release

Humboldt Baykeeper  and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics


EUREKA - The Simpson Timber Company, in a settlement with two environmental groups, has agreed to remove tons of sediment laden with cancer-causing dioxin from a contaminated site, a former Simpson Plywood Mill, adjacent to Humboldt Bay at the foot of Del Norte Street in Eureka.

The timber company was sued in 2006 by the two Eureka-based environmental groups, Humboldt Baykeeper and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs).  Tests were conducted, and dioxin was found at levels tens of thousands of times higher than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, some of the highest levels found in the nation. The test sites were near where Simpson commonly sprayed plywood with the now-widely-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol in the 1960’s.

Nathan Rushton, Eureka Reporter

Feb. 20, 2008


EUREKA - To avoid further litigation, Simpson Timber Co. has struck a deal with two environmental groups to remove tons fo sediment laden with the toxic compound dioxin from a former mill site at the foot of Del Norte Street in Eureka.

The settlement agreement stems from a lawsuit filed in 2006 under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act against Simpson Timber by Eureka-based Humboldt Baykeeper and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

Tests of the soil where plywood was apparently sprayed in the 1960s with the now-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol found dioxin at levels at tens of thousands of times higher than thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the environmental groups.

Humboldt Baykeeper director Pete Nichols said in a news release that the settlement is a pivotal step in addressing and fixing the dioxin problem in and around Humboldt Bay.

“The work required under this agreement will help protect those who fish from this public pier and throughout the bay, in addition to the fish and other inhabitants of the Bay,” Nichols said.

According to the consent decree document, Simpson Timber denies all of the allegations raised by the environmental groups in the original lawsuit of violations and that the conditions posed an “imminent or substantial endangerment” to people or the environment.

Eureka Times Standard, Feb. 21, 2008

The Simpson Timber Co. will be removing tons of sediment contaminated with dioxin from the foot of Del Norte Street a part of a settlement of a 2006 lawsuit filed by Humboldt Baykeeper and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

The lawsuit came after tests were conducted near the site of a former Simpson plywood mill, where the company commonly sprayed plywood with the now-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol in the 1960s, revealed the presence of dioxin, according to joint news release from Humboldt Baykeeper and CATS. Dioxin is an accidental byproduct of pentachlorophenol, according to Patty Clary of CATS.

The tests revealed the presence of dioxin at levels "tens of thousands of times higher than Environmental Protection Agency standards," according to the news release.

4/29/10 Boston Globe

States along the Gulf of Mexico have bet their fishing and tourism industries on the safety of oil drilling offshore, and that bet, which New England has refused to make, has turned into a losing one. The nation as a whole should take the growing oil spill in the Gulf as a warning — that there are consequences to relying so heavily on fossil fuels, and that domestic oil production is no panacea for US energy needs.

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