News From the Center

by Larry Glass and Carrie Tully


We’ve been getting a lot of calls here at the NEC about logging taking place in many of our local watersheds. Many of these are occurring on timber industry-owned land. Unfortunately, because of rules that have been in place for decades, neighbors and the public at large have little opportunity to influence these commercial logging operations. California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) basically acts as a rubber stamp for these approvals, and most without any serious restrictions being placed on the timber companies – allowing them to ignore the cumulative impact of their even-aged management (clearcutting) on the environment.

All of that is bad enough.  Now, CalFire will be considering revised regulations that would drastically weaken road safety standards that have been in place for thirty years. CalFire is making it more dangerous to evacuate during emergencies, and this reckless loosening of regulations will also make it easier to build new homes and buildings in fire-prone wildland areas. This will put more families in harm’s way as well as increase economic risk from the eventual next wildfires. Of particular concern to the NEC is that CalFire is unlikely to examine the major environmental impacts that these regulations could have under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Without a CEQA analysis, it is much more difficult for the state of California to plan for and avoid these environmental consequences. California wildfires like the recent August Complex Fire have destroyed many homes and upended the lives of thousands of people. The climate crisis will only make wildfires more severe in coming years. California must take steps that make wildfire-prone communities safer. CalFire’s proposed regulations would do the opposite. We recommend that you call the governor, your state senator and assembly person. 

Nordic Aquafarms has proposed a fish factory on the Samoa peninsula. The County of Humboldt was only requiring them to do Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) just like they have over many objections for every large scale cannabis operation in the last couple of years. Nordic’s proposal is exponentially larger than any of those, but still only an MND was asked for. The NEC is currently in court over the Rolling Meadow project not having the proper level of environmental review. NEC and our allies approached Nordic with our concerns, and to our pleasant surprise they agreed and will now do a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) This means the concerns raised by groups and individuals during the scoping process for the draft EIR will be required to be addressed in the final EIR. To County Planner John Ford’s credit, the county is now requiring the impacts of the water intakes, also referred to as “seachests”, to be examined in the same document.

The “Public Lands Act” which has the “Northwest California Wilderness and Working Forests Act” (Huffman) included in it, is currently in the Senate preparing for a hearing in the Energy and Resources Committee. I have been helping to put a briefing packet together for Senator Padilla’s staff. Senator Padilla has requested a hearing in the committee. We’re assuming it will be granted this summer.

The countdown to the NEC 50th Anniversary on August 21st, on the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship campus has begun! Staff, Board, and a plethora of community members have been putting our heads together to bring you an unforgettable day of fun activities, memory sharing, future imagining, and lots more. Please see details for the event in this edition of EcoNews! This will literally be the NEC event of the century, so be sure to make your plans early. Capacity will be limited and dinner tickets will sell out fast, so get them while you can! You don’t want to miss this! Please reach out to the NEC staff if you have questions about the logistics of this event.

The NEC staff is delighted to bring Craft for the Coast to our community.  Craft for the Coast encourages us to recognize the possibility in what we may have once considered “waste.” Trash can become something beautiful, useful, innovative, and even powerful. We hope to transform our community mindset to see value where we couldn’t see it before. We know our actions fractalize…which end up manifesting our goals into being. We embrace the idea that art is activism: it can influence the way individuals and the community understand projects and goals, and has the power to influence policy – which is how real change is made. Viewing or creating a piece of artwork made from trash has the potential to create change within your home, community, or even the world! 

In order to submit a piece of trash art and enter to win prizes, please visit submissions due Friday, July 16. There are four categories that your art piece could win a prize for, and trust us, these prizes are awesome! If you want to participate, but don’t want to contribute an art piece, PLEASE VOTE! We want to hear what you think about 

Join us on Saturday, July 24 from 10AM – 1PM at the Arcata Farmers Market to view all the artwork that was submitted! 

We hope you are having the start of a very happy summer!