EUREKA, Calif. – A rigorous and heated public comment period that lasted nearly six hours highlighted the first day of the appeal meeting surrounding the Humboldt Wind Energy Project in front of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Monday.
Hundreds of community members showed up at the Adorni Center Dec. 16 at 9 a.m. to express their feelings regarding the project. While those who attended the meeting were told to keep their reaction to each speaker relatively quiet, there were numerous instances where someone’s two-minute speech spurred either applause, boos or screams of support or opposition.
The public comment period began just after 1 p.m. and lasted up until 7 p.m. when the meeting was adjourned. Some people spoke in favor of the jobs the project will bring to the area.
“For far too many years, we’ve lost a lot of our industry and infrastructure to a crumbling economy,” one speaker said. “To see something like this, where the members of the county and this area, here, can actually go work, support their family and come home at night to see their kids, participate in their extracurricular activities is paramount to a young apprentice or a father.”
“It’s the Saudi Arabia of wind,” another supporter said. “Terra Gen offers 155 MW of energy now. Virtually, all the power generated will be consumed in Humboldt.”
While there were a considerable number of supporters who took to the podium, those who oppose the project outnumbered those in favor. Some opponents pointing out the negative environmental impacts and the project’s placement on sacred Wiyot land as reasons to be against it.
“What part of ten feet of concrete is going to be sustainable?” one opponent asked. “Yeah, it’s sustainable alright. It’s going to be there forever, for your grandchildren and my grandchildren.”
Others called out the impact it would have on the forest.
“I would like to let you know the effects these machines might have on our redwoods,” another opponent said. “No one has asked what effect this would have on fog. Fog is our redwoods’ water source.”
The board listened to 213 speakers throughout Monday’s public comment period before ending it for the night. They will listen to roughly 50 more Tuesday morning when the meeting resumes at the Adorni Center at 9 a.m. Once public comment ends, the board will deliberate and then eventually vote on the project’s fate.
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