Nordic AquaFarms’ proposed aquaculture facility in Samoa would be the largest project in Humboldt County in decades. Comments are due February 18th on Humboldt County’s draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for this massive land-based fish factory at the old Samoa pulp mill site. Based on the DEIR, numerous significant impacts have not been fully assessed and mitigated, specifically concerning increased electricity demands, greenhouse gas emissions, and ocean discharge.
At full build out, it would use 21% of the county’s energy supplies – as much as the cities of Eureka and Fortuna combined. And yet the draft EIR concludes there would be no significant impacts from greenhouse gas emissions, truck traffic, bay intakes that will draw 10,000,000 gallons and an ocean discharge of 12,000,000 gallons of treated wastewater a day.
Along with our allies (Humboldt Baykeeper, 350 Humboldt, EPIC, Humboldt Surfrider Foundation, and the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities), the NEC has been following this project closely for two years. We continue to have serious misgivings about its impacts on the ocean and greenhouse gas emissions. Although the wastewater would be lower in nitrogen than the effluent from the Eureka wastewater treatment plant, it would add to the existing nutrient load, while also adding warmer water with lower pH and salinity than the receiving waters. This combination has the potential to exacerbate the toxic algae blooms that have devastated the crab and clam fisheries in recent years.
We believe reasonable changes to reduce these impacts are achievable. To make sure Nordic commits to these changes, we are requesting the following modifications:
- An explicit requirement in the EIR that the project will, from day one of operations, be powered solely through renewable energy.
- The project maximizes its feasible onsite renewable energy production through more aggressive utilization of solar, including over parking areas.
- An adaptive management provision that requires Nordic to buy locally-produced renewable power as it is commercially available.
- Modeling of ambient water quality using data from the mixing zone near the RMT II diffuser, instead of the data taken from Humboldt Bay (approximately 3.5 miles south-southeast of the discharge point).
- Baseline monitoring and continuous monitoring of the effluent should be performed by experts and compared to an established threshold which would trigger protective actions.
This project would be the largest of its kind, unprecedented and could greatly impact our community, coastal areas, and Humboldt Bay. As environmentalists, climate activists, and stakeholders our goal is to make sure this project undergoes the highest level of scrutiny and is as least impactful as possible. Please join the Northcoast Environmental Center, Humboldt Baykeeper, 350 Humboldt, EPIC, the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, and Humboldt Surfrider Foundation in calling for these reasonable mitigations to the Nordic Aquafarms project.
Make your voice heard by simply sharing our comments or sending your own to CEQAResponses@co.humboldt.ca.us by Feb. 18, 2022.
The DEIR is available for public review at the Planning and Building Department as well as online via the department’s website. For more information, you can contact Cade McNamara, Planner II, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (707) 268-3777.
The Nordic Aquafarms project is projected to use as much energy as the cities of Eureka and Fortuna combined. To mitigate the greenhouse gasses associated with this energy usage, we are asking that they be required to use 100% renewable energy and maximize feasible on-site solar energy production.