J.A. Savage ("Reward Water's Worth," March 11) says, "Water-wasting industries like nuclear power plants and pulp mills of the 1960s were the old, clear-cutting, resource-wasting Humboldt County. We will never go back to that kind of industry, nor do we want to."
Unfortunately, we still have the Humboldt Sawmill power plant in Scotia, which burns mill waste to produce energy and massive global warming emissions. How massive? In 2019, the California Air Resource Board said the plant emitted 284,800 metric tons of CO2 (or gases with equivalent warming potential). Since the county planning department says passenger vehicles in 2018 emitted 394,362 metric tons of CO2, curtailing the emissions from this one plant would be equivalent to converting 72 percent of our passenger cars into zero emission electric vehicles.
But global warming emissions are only part of it. Burning mill waste for power is much more polluting even than burning coal. A recent peer-reviewed study found that if we eliminated air pollution in California, "The annualized monetary benefits ($215 billion) exceed the Green House Gas abatement cost ($106 billion) by $109 billion."
Unfortunately, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), is proposing to give the biomass plant a new 10-year contract. At the same time, the RCEA Community Advisory Board has just sent a report to the RCEA Board pointing out that there are alternative uses of mill waste that would provide employment but sequester CO2 rather than blasting it into the atmosphere. Since the cost of emitting CO2 is $51 per ton, the RCEA is proposing to impose avoidable costs of $142 million on the world over the next 10 years.
Please tell your representative to RCEA to drop biomass power and contract for solar until offshore wind is available. It's not too late to cancel this contract with the past.
Daniel Chandler, Trinidad