.Letters to the Editor: March 13, 2019

Letters to the Bohemian: incalculably delicious!

Floating Away

I’m glad to see the Bohemian begin to introduce your readers to the fast-approaching floating offshore wind industry (“Full Tilt,” Feb. 27).

Going forward, it would be useful to see a more balanced coverage of something that may well permanently industrialize significant portions of California’s coastal waters, rather than a reprint of the industry’s own public relations while failing to mention its sometimes adverse impacts on our natural world.

One of the key entities behind the emerging PR blitz for floating wind cited in the Boho story says it exists to help the oil and gas offshore oil and gas drilling industry “diversify” its portfolio of projects. Not surprisingly, since one of the most probable dominant bidders for offshore tracts in California waters being offered by Trump’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently dropped the word “oil” from its corporate name. And unfortunately, the recent federal government shutdown cut short the public comment period for the Humboldt and Morro Bay coastal wind lease offerings so severely that even key agencies were unable to comment, while requests for an extension of the comment deadline went unheeded by BOEM.

As with any major irreversible planning decision, sound science should be guiding the public and our decision makers, but a lot of the relevant scientific questions about stray electrical fields in ocean waters from unhooked “plug and play” power cables; about whale entanglements amid the virtual net of seafloor anchor cables; about attraction of—and potential damage to—sensitive species of at-risk seabirds; and about how to ensure safety where commercial fishing overlaps (or is displaced by) the proposed wind leases, still remain unanswered.

Offshore wind projects would inevitably have onshore impacts if they are to deliver power to sites on land, meaning more transmission lines and infrastructure. Any rational energy strategy for the future of our state should include energy-efficiency and energy-conservation implementation, rather than blithely ignoring that part of the equation.

When we know that the industrial supply chain for floating offshore wind is comprised almost exclusively of some of the biggest firms in the global offshore oil drilling complex, when so many of the wind bidders here will be oil companies, and in a world where fracked natural gas is being wastefully burned off and thrown away at record rates by “flaring” in various states, a PR-fueled rush to exploit our most productive coastal upwelling waters might benefit from being just a bit more precautionary and science-based than is presently being suggested by its paid cheerleaders.

Bodega Bay

Air It Out

I am once again disappointed with Will Carruthers’ lazy reporting on the fire-debris-removal scandal involving AshBritt and other contractors (“Dirty Business,” March 13). There is a real story here: the excessive charges for debris removal are scandalous, and the statement by state’s emergency services director that debris-removal contractors defrauded the state demands real investigation. The issues raised in the new lawsuit against AshBritt and Tetra Tech demand investigation. But instead of real investigation, Carruthers gives us another loosely woven house of straw built on innuendo and implied (but never documented) collusion.

The latest article implies something is amiss with the county’s new emergency manager, Christopher Godley, because he didn’t update his LinkedIn profile and because other employees working for a separate division of Godley’s prior employer (Tetra Tech) evidently falsified hazardous materials testing results on a San Francisco development project. What kind of guilt-by-association hokum is that? I worked with Chris during his prior employment with Sonoma County, and he was a model of professionalism and integrity.

And, of course, the article concludes with another of Carruthers’ obligatory swipes at Darius Anderson for reasons that remain unclear. If there’s really “something” there, let’s air it out. Our community deserves better reporting on these issues.

Santa Rosa

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