Member since Dec 11, 2008



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Re: “Diesel Dope for Supes

Here's the full text of my presentation to the board:

"I’ve lived here since 1970 and I’ve seen the evolution of the marijuana industry. In the early 1980’s, I saw one of the first indoor grow scenes and I thought to myself: "This is stupid, and it’s never going to work." Turns out, I was only half right.....

There are many stupid industries that are highly profitable to a few while harmful to all. But, unlike other industries, this one is completely underground and therefore unregulated. There are points, however, where indoor pot production overlaps legitimate county businesses, and the largest of those are fuel suppliers and PG&E. In a case where deliveries are being made to unregistered tanks at obvious indoor grows, or where PG&E hooks up a second meter to accommodate outrageous power consumption at a residential household, these companies are cooperating with and profiting from illegal operations.

Law enforcement has proven ineffective as a deterrent; in fact funding of CAMP in the 80’s was precisely what caused many growers to shift to indoor production. Ironically, the pot industry is the only thing buffering the county from the current economic downturn. 100% effective eradication would collapse the local economy, yet to ignore this polluting industry is to allow serious environmental damage. Of all the dangers presented so far (fuel spills, improper disposal of crank case oil, air and noise pollution in rural areas, lack of housing and home invasion robberies in urban and suburban areas, and fires everywhere), in my mind the greatest threat of all is global climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

At this point, I’d like to propose a narrowly focused carbon tax on all diesel deliveries to unregistered tanks. It is illegal to deliver more than 660 gallons to an unregistered tank, a law that’s currently not enforced. One way to seek compliance is to impose a 20-25% carbon tax on fuel deliveries to those tanks, encouraging legitimate users to register their tanks and creating a financial penalty for illegal use. Similarly, a 20-25% tax on residential utility bills that exceed $1000 per month would be a disincentive to large indoor grows on the grid.

This is a rare case where a large tax increase would be supported by the majority of citizens. The revenues collected could range from a few million to tens of millions annually, maybe more. The revenues could be allocated between critical infrastructure like schools and roads, as well as developing carbon offsetting projects, like trail networks, alternative energy systems, and public transit.
These measures would help us kick our fossil fuel addiction in general, would create jobs that will benefit both the environment and local economy.

In closing I feel a carbon tax could do four things: 1) Increase county funding in a time of decreasing revenue; 2) create quality green jobs; 3) decrease the wasteful practice of using fossil fuels to grow marijuana; and 4) lead the way in planning for a more sustainable future. I’d like to point out that this is not just a sourthern Humboldt problem, this is a problem in Eureka and Arcata and in Mendocino, as you’ll see in Jim Harrison’s slide show, but it is more than that: scientists now believe that the co2 that is released today will effect the global climate for thousands of years. The need for immediate action cannot be overstated."

Posted by Tyce on 12/11/2008 at 5:16 PM

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