Mercer-Fraser’s Proposed Cannabis Extraction Facilities

Overlooking the Mad River. Photo: Jesse Palmer, Flickr CC.
Overlooking the Mad River. Photo: Jesse Palmer, Flickr CC.

Mercer-Fraser, an engineering company based out of Eureka, proposed the construction of a 5,000-square-foot cannabis manufacturing facility at their property on the Mad River near Glendale in January 2018. The proposed site is immediately upstream from Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District’s intake wells, which provide drinking water for 88,000 residents of Humboldt County. If the project is approved, drinking water for 2/3 of Humboldt County’s residents could be impaired.

In order to build the facility, Mercer-Fraser proposed to rezone the site for ‘heavy industrial use’. The Planning Commission approved this proposal in January. Rezoning of the property could open it up to more hazardous development in the future, threatening the drinking water for residents of the Eureka, Cutten, Samoa, Manila, Arcata, McKinleyville, Blue Lake, Fieldbrook, and Glendale areas. The facility’s processes will include the use of volatile chemicals including acetone and heptane to create cannabis products, acetone being a known carcinogen. The property lies in the 100-year flood zone, which is especially concerning considering development in flood zones can result in more flooding, erosion, and habitat degradation, as well as damage to the endangered coho salmon populations that reside in the river.

After much push-back on this project, the Mercer Fraser project was withdrawn (read more on this HERE). The NEC continues to monitor this project in case it resurfaces in the future – particularly once 2018 county elections have ended.

To learn more, visit the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District website and Humboldt Baykeeper’s website.

Read the HBMWD appeal to the Planning Commission’s decision HERE.

Listen to the NEC’s EcoNews Report on this topic HERE.