Letters + Opinion » Mailbox

To Wind Mill or Not to Wind Mill?



In regards to Larry Goldberg's letter to the editor (Mailbox, Nov. 21): with all due respect to you personally and professionally, your urging of the Wiyot Tribe to "leave a greater legacy" is appalling. As the NCJ editors stated themselves in the same issue, "The Wiyot people have been good environmental stewards of this land since time immemorial. The climate crisis is plainly not of the tribe's making."

To ask any local (national, etc.) Indigenous people to extend themselves any more than they already have for "the future of our children" is hugely dismissive of the genocidal history they have survived in order to provide any future for their children.

Yes, we are in a crisis and need solutions immediately, if not sooner. But let's creatively and thoughtfully find solutions that do not further harm those who have suffered the most.

Julie Slater North, Arcata


I agree with Dec. 5 Journal letters to the editor from wind farm supporters that our present climate emergency demands immediate action.

But what action and by whom is a big question. "We all need to make sacrifices," but for the Terra Gen Wind Project, it looks like the usual sacrificial lambs — non-human lives and non-industrial cultures.

Couldn't the rest of us sacrifice some comfort, convenience and profit to save our disappearing Native cultures and species? Drive less, slow down, forego some air travel and shopping, buy solar panels and electric vehicles? Unpopular, yes, but is it our only alternative to erecting gigantic killing machines on sacred ground?

This monumental project, likely the biggest ever here — 47 windmills, each one 60 stories high and 400 feet wide, twice the height of our tallest redwood trees, stretched across high ridge top grasslands and forests in a band 1,000 feet wide and nearly 15 miles long — will have large and lasting impacts. On Monday, Terra-Gen appeals its project to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. A defining moment for Humboldt County, with no easy answers, and still many unanswered questions. Please come, Dec. 16, starting 9 a.m. at the Adorni Center in Eureka.

Joyce King, McKinleyville


Two letters in support of Terra-Gen (Nancy Ihara and Edward Webb in the Dec. 5 Mailbox) offer educational opportunities. Ms. Ihara references our solar experts to dismiss solar as unaffordable. Unfortunately, they never include ownership of systems and energy generated over time, or the economy of scale, instead multiplying the cost of one rooftop over and over, without the hefty tax credits, affordable home financing, revenue generation during peak hours, or resilience without generators during emergencies.

Experienced installers, like Roger, testify to solar's affordability, accessibility and job creation.

Pairing Electric Vehicles (EV) with solar microgrids is the most radical way to reduce the 70 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions coming from vehicles, providing resilience and mobile storage and supply during emergencies. Some electric buses in Long Beach can charge along their route wirelessly.

Solar inherently reduces grid electricity use, whereas Terra-Gen's tax-subsidized electricity is geared toward an economy based on exporting electricity to the grid, artificially reducing the average cost of electricity and increasing demand for electricity overall, thwarting any potential carbon reduction.

Terra-Gen's contribution to clean energy is negligible but its threats to precious biodiversity are of planetary significance.

We have no idea of the adaptability of species to climate change. Terra-Gen risks the extinction of rare flora and fauna and their carbon-sequestering habitat that have thrived because of these evolutionary capacities. The extinction crisis is a result of ignoring the impacts of our technologies on biodiversity.

Mr. Webb warns of a 10-15 year climate emergency window, yet appears untroubled by the immediate release of years' worth of greenhouse gases from Terra-Gen's construction that are rationalized and disguised by amortizing them over 30 years. His appreciation of Germany's onshore wind turbines is not shared by Germans (nor Brits), who reduced subsidies and capped production due to adverse health and aesthetic impacts.

Ken Miller, McKinleyville


The windmill issue seems to be a dilemma for the local green community. It's agreed that humans must act quickly and decisively to curb the environmental chaos caused by greenhouse gasses. Why then, when a plan for alternative energy is dropped in our midst, do we pause? Think global, act local ... right? And we don't have to worry about how to do it — Terra-Gen has the logistics all figured out. All we (the Supes) have to do is say "yes" and, viola! ... easy money for the county and an eased conscience for those concerned with doing "something" to help. And all this without changing our lifestyles!

The main perspective of support for the windmill project is for "clean energy production" and significant county revenues. If that were the end of the story, it would be a no-brainer, however many of the public comments at the planning commission meetings brought up other perspectives that should be considered and honored by elected officials representing the interests of the people of Humboldt County, as well as the health of the "realm" the project will effect. It is important to recognize this "realm" is unique, both culturally and environmentally. The Wiyots have been physically and culturally connected to this land since long before the problems created by industrialization brought us to the brink of asking for a sacrifice for the greater good. Simply put, they should be considered a major player and their cultural motives deserve the supervisors' utmost respect. Scotia and Rio Del have also clearly voiced their disapproval of this project which will directly affect their communities.

Whatever the decision, this vote is a defining moment for Humboldt County and the legacy of each member of the Board ... and may be written on the hillsides for all to see.

Greg Jaso, McKinleyville

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