On Thursday, July 28 at 6pm, the Humboldt County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Nordic Aquafarms Final Environmental Impact Report and permits for the development of a land-based aquaculture development at the former pulp mill in Samoa.
Along with many of our colleagues, we have spent countless hours over the past three years studying this plan. We’ve met with company reps many times to discuss our concerns and raise questions, including many meetings with Nordic’s consultants to discuss technical aspects of the project.
Our coalition of environmental organizations was able to secure commitments from Nordic Aquafarms to use 100% renewable electricity, since the project would use a huge amount of energy. However, we remain concerned about other impacts that are poorly addressed in the County’s environmental review, including greenhouse gas emissions, the source of feed, the source of Atlantic Salmon eggs. In particular, we are very uneasy about the potential risks from the ocean discharge, although permits for the discharge and bay intakes are not in the county’s jurisdiction (those permits will be considered at a future Coastal Commission hearing).
Like many in the community, we are excited about the prospect of seeing the former pulp mill site remediated. However, the massive scale of the project and the fact that Nordic has not proven success with a project of this size causes us serious concern for the health of Humboldt Bay and the ocean, as well as all of the people and species who rely on them. And just a few weeks ago, Nordic Aquafarms’ founding President and Vice President left abruptly, leaving many uncertain about the company’s viability.
Starting with a smaller project and having clear benchmarks of when the project can scale up would go a long way to addressing these concerns. If that is not possible, we suggest that the Planning Commission consider issuing a time-limited Coastal Development Permit, such as 5 or 10 years, so that Nordic has the opportunity to prove that this project will not significantly impact the environment when the time comes to return to the Planning Commission to renew the permit.
Please share your concerns with the Planning Commission. Contact info for Planning Commissioners and details on how to submit comments can be found here
. To read comments from our coalition of environmental groups (NEC, Humboldt Baykeeper, EPIC, Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, Humboldlt Surfrider and North Group Sierra Club), click here