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Storm in a Port 


I always read Elaine Weinreb. I count on her broad vision and grasp of detail to inform my understanding of life in Humboldt. I also appreciate NCJ's recent knowledgeable and penetrating letters to the editor on Elaine's July 27 article "Port of Entry," underscoring the complexities of what would otherwise seem an enticing win for carbon reduction and the local economy.

The article emphasizes that the port and wind farm are reviewed as two projects, but since the port can't exist separately, I have to think of them together.

Lacking technical expertise regarding turbines, ports, transmission and grid connections, but with more than 25 years witnessing exploitation of this resource-rich, economically-depressed outpost of California, I am skeptical of this and any outside corporate-driven mega project.

In the many examples of such projects

— mining, timber, railroad, LNG, nuclear power, etc.

— I've seen consistently inadequate attention to:

— safe clean up and disposal

— assessment and response to the cumulative adverse effects over time and space

— risks of accidents and disasters (oil spills and fire, earthquakes, tsunamis, sea-level rise, political/social upheaval, terrorist attacks.

This project is described in the NCJ article and letters as "one of the largest in the world," uniquely challenging, "a relatively new technology ... used at only a handful of wind farms in the world on a small scale," and installed at a depth of 2,500 feet, more than three times deeper than any other.

Considering the 20-to-25-year average lifespan of offshore wind farms, with several decommissioned after 14 to 16 years. What are the chances this won't be another boom-and-bust, with the main economic benefits going to the wealthy, usually not locals, and leaving locals with degraded natural resources and low-wage jobs?

I look forward to reading corrections, expansions and alternatives in future letters.

Thank you, Elaine, and NCJ.

Joyce King, McKinleyville

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