Wind Farm Update: Draft Environment Impact Report Released

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

A wind farm is being proposed for Monument and Bear River Ridges near the towns of Scotia and Rio Dell. The wind farm is expected to produce 155MW of electricity from up to 60 turbines. On April 15, the county released its draft Environmental Impact Report, a document required under state law that examines the likely environmental impacts associated with the project and the potential mitigation measures to reduce the severity of those impacts. Its release has triggered a public comment period that ends on June 5 at 5pm. All comments on the document should be sent to [email protected] or Humboldt Wind Energy Project Planner, County of Humboldt Planning Department, 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501.

EPIC is still reading the document—it is, after all hundreds of pages long—and has yet to form an opinion on the project. There are obvious challenges with a project like this. While the project could help to decarbonize our energy grid, an undoubtedly important objective to combat global climate change, the wind project is also likely to result in bird and bat deaths, including to some of the most iconic avian friends, like the marbled murrelet and bald eagle, as well as other species that may be less well known, like the streaked horned lark. In reading the document, EPIC is asking ourselves the following questions: Can the footprint be reduced in a way to further minimize the impact to bird species? Has the project avoided impacts to the maximum extent practicable? Has the project minimized impacts to the maximum extent practicable? And has the project mitigated impacts to the maximum extent practicable?

I hope you take the time to read the document—perhaps focus on the biological resources chapter (Chapter 3.5)—and engage with EPIC to share your thoughts. Feel free to contact Tom via email: [email protected] or call the office at (707) 822-7711.