The troubles associated with marijuana grown with the use of fossil fuel were covered by
SoHum blogger Kym Kemp
story titled "
After Hacker Cree
k." The diesel dope issue hits the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors tomorrow as a group of concerned citizens led by Robert "The Man Who Walks in the Woods" Sutherland lay things out in a PowerPoint presentation. Here's Robert's press release announcement and some of the photos they'll be showing the Supes:
On this Tuesday December 9th at 11 am your neighbors will present a program to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors about diesel in the hills.
This is an account of the local marijuana industry, its history and its adverse environmental impacts, with examples of possible environmental safeguards that are within the authority of the Board. A slide show featuring adverse impacts will accompany.
The Board will be taking no action and this is informational only. We expect there will be no formal opportunity for public input at this time.
Speakers are slated to include long-time southern Humboldt residents Jesse Hill, Robert Sutherland (The man who walks in the woods), and Tyce Fraser. Joining the presentation from Mendocino County is the widely recognized authority Jim Harrison.
Representatives from the Division of Environmental Health, the Sheriff's Department, and the Department of Fish and Game have been invited to attend.
Over the course of many years marijuana cultivation in northern California has transitioned away from "mom-and-pop" growers to large scale industrial operations featuring indoor growing under powerful lights. These lights are most often powered by large diesel generators which require large amounts of fuel and frequent changes of lubricating oil.
Occasionally diesel fuel is accidentally spilled, sometimes in large amounts, or frequently it leaks from poor connections. Crankcase oil is waste and often is dumped into the environment with serious long term consequences.
Humboldt County has engaged in an educational campaign to alert all diesel fuel users to the associated dangers. For example, the County points out that as little as about one teaspoon of diesel in 25 gallons of water will kill half of the fish exposed to it. Regarding leaks, they advise that two drops per second adds up to 84 gallons a month. They add that one quart of used motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. Crankcase oil is particularly insidious because of toxic heavy metals it contains, among other reasons. Oil dumps may remain undetected by inspectors or law enforcement.
Calculations of the amounts of diesel consumed in marijuana grow operations show it to be a major contributor to serious air pollution and to global warming. These are among the impacts which will be noted in the presentation. There are many other associated problems, such as noise pollution and the use of toxic chemicals.
A more immediate fear for most rural residents is the threat posed by grow fires. The fuel and large generators and their associated wiring results in frequent fires. According to fire authorities, seventy to ninety percent of rural structure fires are marijuana grows. This fact does not show up in formal records because firefighters are obligated to retain discrete good relations to all the rural public. Yet, according to knowledgeable authorities, it is just a matter of time before one of these frequent fires becomes catastrophic, destroying lives and widespread property.
Because of the pervasive nature of this major industry - virtually no town or watershed is unknown to it - it occupies much of the social fabric and is one of the most important contributors to the economy. Yet, we feel that illegal does not have to mean irresponsible.
We seek to work with County government and hopefully all other elements of the community to reduce the adverse environmental threat posed by this industry. We need to find ways that include in a positive way all those many who are experts at living outside the law. Present approaches are unnecessarily cumbersome and clearly have not worked. We believe that in addition to specific educational outreach there needs to be a carrot-and-stick approach that encourages that sound practices can be adopted by everyone.
We hope you will attend our presentation. Please remember that new security measures at the Courthouse mean you must leave any pocket knives or similar objects in your car, and you will need to allow extra time for the screening.
Contact: Robert Sutherland - woods [at] asis [dot] com