Press release from the Environmental Protection Information Center:

In response to news from Nordic Aquafarms and Humboldt County that the county will pursue a full environmental impact report for the proposed fish farm, a coalition of North Coast environmental organizations thank the company and county for listening to community concern and their commitment to rigorous environmental review.

“Our organizations called for the preparation of an environmental impact report because we believed that this project—which is unlike anything seen before in Humboldt County or even the state of California — could benefit from more thorough environmental impact review and public participation,” said Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper.

“Process matters. Thorough environmental impact review does two things: it allows the public to better engage with a project, helping to better shape and mold the project to reduce impacts and it allows the public to see and trust that this is safe for Humboldt Bay,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director of EPIC. “We are happy that the county and Nordic are moving forward in the right way.”

Among the impacts that the coalition anticipate will be better studied and ultimately mitigated are greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to coastal communities and coastal access.

“While this project would require a significant amount of energy, raising the risk of considerable greenhouse gas emissions, there are easy ‘fixes,’” said Dan Chandler of 350 Humboldt. “We expect that Nordic will commit to using 100% renewable energy throughout the project and will increase the amount of solar produced at the project site.”

“Addressing transportation needs for a somewhat remote and rural area can be challenging but we have provided Nordic with ways to both reduce emissions from cars and trucks and improve worker morale, such as employee vanpools, improved bike and pedestrian facilities, and a commitment to use zero-emission vehicles,” said Colin Fiske, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities.

“The Samoa Peninsula is a popular place for surfing, fishing and beach-going, so potential effects to water quality and coastal access as a result of this project are naturally a concern and need to be thoroughly analyzed for impacts and mitigation needs,” said Delia Bense-Kang Surfrider Foundation’s Northern and Central California Regional Coordinator.

The willingness of the company and county to conduct this review stands in contrast to the well-publicized failure to do so for other large and potentially impactful projects, such as the Rolling Meadow cannabis project.

“Too many projects slip through without a meaningful attempt to consider all the environmental impacts,” said Larry Glass, executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC). “If the county routinely scrimps on environmental impact review and tries to be quick and cheap, we have to take a stand to preserve our environmental laws.”