Humboldt is seeking tribal and fishing input on the wind agreement

Humboldt is seeking tribal and fishing input on the wind agreement

HUMBOLDT – The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is working to reactivate an agreement with a wind energy port developer to allow for better public engagement, especially with tribes and local commercial fishing groups.

At their Nov. 7 meeting, supervisors considered a draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the county and Crowley Wind Services LLC.

Crowley is collaborating with the county’s Harbor District on building an offshore wind power plant and supply/installation facility at the former Humboldt Bay pulp mill site now owned by the district.

According to a written staff report, the Ministry of Agriculture aims to reflect “shared goals” on equitable workforce development and the need for “strong partnerships” on this matter.

The memorandum of understanding was supposed to be approved by now, but Economic Development Director Scott Adair said more public input is needed for the document to return to its “basic form.”

The rework highlights Crowley’s controversies, which include two federal sex trafficking cases against her and the resignation of her vice president after a sexual harassment allegation.

Two Humboldt tribes, the Yurok Tribe and the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, asked the Harbor District to back out of hiring Crowley.

Board Chairman Steve Madrone cited concerns about the allegations against Crowley and the potential for its workers to harm Native American women.

“I appreciate that the vice president of the company has already resigned and moved on, but these are cultural things within companies, and it’s not just that these things happen because of one individual,” he said, adding that tribal representatives have approached him about the Department of Agriculture including language about the potential need to support enforcement. the law.

He continued: “What is the monitoring, to make sure that these things do not increase the issues of missing and murdered indigenous peoples?”

During the public comment period, Megan Ciaosi, director of self-governance for the Yurok Tribe, urged the county to consult with tribes as it revamps the Department of Agriculture.

“Tribal nations were mentioned three times in the Department of Agriculture and the tribes were not consulted,” she said. “Speaking of the Yurok tribe, we have not dealt with the province at all.”

The impacts on commercial fishing were also highlighted. “Fishermen are going to lose a lot from this relationship and it seems to be moving very quickly,” said Vivian Helliwell of the Federation of Pacific Coast Fishermen’s Associations.

There will be “cumulative effects” with the combined impacts of port development and offshore wind energy infrastructure, she added.

Offshore wind energy development is not covered by the Department of Agriculture.

But Helliwell spoke out, saying two offshore wind developers had held “preliminary conversations” with the PCFFA about compensating fishermen for impacts and “so far, they have been very preliminary and very unsatisfactory.”

Supervisors directed economic development staff to work on the revised MOA, with greater participation from tribes and hunting groups.

The Harbor District has begun work on the environmental review of the port project, which is expected to reach the final draft stage sometime next year.

Construction of the port is expected to begin in 2026 to 2027 at the earliest.

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