The following are excepts from the appeal of the Coastal Permit granted by Humboldt County. The appeal was set to come before the State Coastal Commission on June 17, but was postponed at the request of Freshwater Tissue Co.
"On April 7, 2011, the Humboldt County Planning Commission approved Coastal Development Permit No. 10-06 and the associated Lot Line Adjustment....The approval by Humboldt County is inconsistent with the policies and standards of the certified I.CP including, but not limited to, policies and standards regarding (1) securing permits prior to development of a lot line adjustment and (2) protecting environmentally sensitive habitat areas..."The staff analysis supporting the approval of the subject lot line adjustment does not present evidence establishing a basis for the legality of the three legal parcels alleged to exist on the subject site. Instead, the analysis simply lists the alleged legal parcels and the "creation document" associated with each. ...it is not clear that coastal development permits ever were obtained for the LLA's or other land divisions that created the configuration of the existing APNs for which the County has now approved a further LLA. Therefore, the approved LLA development is inconsistent with with the LCP...because the findings for approval do not present the evidentiary basis that the necessary coastal development permit(s) was secured for the LLAs or other land divisions that established the subject APNs as presently ...configured prior to approval of CDP No-06/LLA No. 10-01."
"Protection of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas
1) Wetlands and estuaries, including Humboldt Bay and the mouth of the Mad River.
2)Vegetated dunes along the North Spit to the Mad River and along the South Spit.
3)Rivers, creeks, gulches, sloughs and associated riparian habitats, including Mad River Slough, Ryan Slough, Eureka Slough, Freshwater Slough, Liscom Slough, Fay Slough, Elk River, Salmon Creek, and other streams."
"The County's approval is inconsistent with the Environmentally Sensitive protection policies of the LCP athat limit development within ESHA to only resource-dependent uses and requre that new development adjacent to ESHA be sited and designed to protect ESHA and to provide for its continuance."
On March 3, 2011 The Humboldt County Planning Commission granted a Coastal Permit for lot line adjustment on the Freshwater Tissue Co. property (Case No. LLA-0-01/CDP-10-06). They want to create 4 parcels measuring between 24.1 acres and 68.8 acres. The stated purpose is to facilitate the use of vacant land by placing improvements on separate parcels. These parcels are located 2000 feet SW of the intersection of Vance Ave. and Adams Court in Samoa, CA. (properties found in sections 16, 20, 21 township 5N Range 1W)
This permit has been appealed by the State Coastal Commission (Commissioners Wan and Sanchez). The area in question totals 140 acres (4 Parcels). Appeal No. A-1-Hum-11-020 was on the Coast Commission agenda June 17, 2011, but the item was postponed.
Why the secrecy? What about the cleanup of this property? Has it been tested for toxins? Are they planning to just build on this land without testing or clean up? The Samoa Pulp Mill was a notorious polluter, and this land is undoubtedly very toxic. If they have a plan, why hasn't it been shared with the public?
We will be following up and have more to report on this matter.
When Freshwater Tissue Co. was granted a water permit to make pulp, we were told that their permit could be revoked if they failed to meet a series of deadlines. However, since Freshwater is not making pulp, these deadlines have not been enforced. We naively thought that if they failed to meet these deadlines, the permit would automatically be revoked. However, this is not the case. Apparently, it is a lot of bother to revoke a permit once it is granted.
A whole report must be written at great expense of time and money. Then it must be submitted to 30 days public comment after which the Board must meet and vote on it.
Why does this matter? We are not sure why Freshwater Tissue Co. is paying money to maintain this permit. They cannot make pulp. The permit only allows them to put storm water and pulp waste out the outfall. Even though they are not making pulp, presumably there are discharges into the Ocean. These are not being monitored.
What we have learned from the Samoa Pulp Mill is that permits once they are granted are hard to get rid of. In addition, enforcement is weak. It is a long way to Humboldt County from Santa Rosa, and expensive to send people here. As funds become more and more scarce, monitoring and enforcement will get weaker and weaker not just with Freshwater, but with other industries that make toxic byproducts.