Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another Baykeeper Lawsuit

Looks like Humboldt Baykeeper is filing another lawsuit, this time in conjunction with Californians for Alternatives to Toxics. They want Simpson Timber to clean up the site of an old mill in Eureka just north of the foot of West Del Norte Street, right next to where I used to fish all the time back in the mid 70s.

I don't know what the truth of the matter is. Baykeeper claims pollution well in excess of EPA limits. I don't believe I've suffered any ill effects from eating all the fish and shark I've caught down there.

I'm wondering what their motivation is? I can't help but think this might be linked to the Marina Center controversy. As myself and others have pointed out here, opponents of Marina Center never brought up the pollution and capping issue with other developments on the waterfront.

Maybe this is their way of making it look as if they are looking at other polluted properties now and they're not insisting on the Balloon Tract clean up solely because of the Marina Center proposal?

Hold on a second, maybe not. Just noticed this section of the article:

Pete Nichols called the numbers “Superfund numbers,” suggesting the site is so heavily contaminated it could qualify for federal cleanup action.

Oh, I think I get. It will bring more federal money to the area. What a unique idea.

32 Comments:

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both sites have been leeching into the bay for decades. There is a proposed development for one, and interest in the other. Where were these concerned citizens all those years? Wal-mart happened in 1999, yet the progressives did nothing, the government did nothing, until a private citizen steps up with a proposal. This lawsuit sounds like yet another attempt to stop ANY development that doesn't adhear to the progressive agenda - government money, government regulation, government control.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto -

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

The Baykeeper is less than 2 years old.

Gotta love these conspiracy theories.

Just because our lame local gov never took it upon themselves to hold the polluters accountable doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. Some of us are fed up with the fact that the the Eureka City Council and Harbor District have sat on their lazy asses and never taken care of the problem in the first place.

You wait long enough until you can't wait any longer and have to take into your own hands.

 
At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City of Eureka has quite a history of excluding activists and environmentalists to the benefit of private developers. CORRUPT.

 
At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't all you blind fools see that the Marina Center is the smart way to proceed and that your objections are nothing more than petty jealousy?

 
At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 1:21 - it is smart. And it is the best way to proceed. Their jealousy blinds them too much.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

The smart thing is to clean it up.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

The site was contaminated with the wood preservative pentachlorophenol (“penta”) more than twenty years ago, when Simpson used penta to treat the marine plywood made at the mill site. Penta – a known carcinogen in its own right – is widely known to be contaminated with the much more toxic dioxin, the same toxic chemical found in Agent Orange.

Baykeeper and CATs say that they were forced to bring suit because dioxin-laden soil was still on site, impacting Humboldt Bay and the Eureka Marsh. Simpson and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) have been negotiating clean-up of the site for over fifteen years.

Most recently, Simpson has filed a report with the Regional Board requesting no further clean-up of the site. Pete Nichols, Director of Humboldt Baykeeper said, “Simpson recently asked the Regional Board to sign-off on their proposal that no further action be taken to clean-up the site.” Nichols added, “After fifteen years of talk, it is quite clear that the Regional Board is not going to make Simpson find and remove the bulk of the contamination.”

The 2003 report to the Regional Board, produced by SHN Consulting, claimed that SHN had removed contaminated soil along the drainage ditch leading to Humboldt Bay and that, “the primary areas of concern were removed.” But, Nichols noted, “Simpson and SHN never tested the ditch area for dioxin, even though the law requires it.”

In April, Baykeeper consultants sampled mud from the same ditch Simpson and SHN said they had cleaned up. Baykeeper found dioxin at levels tens of thousands times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe. The sampling also revealed high levels of dioxin in Bay sediments, where the ditch empties.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Heraldo said...

Here is a local article about pentachlorophenol and mill workers: A CASE STUDY OF CANCER DEATHS IN THE LUMBER INDUSTRY.

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In April, Baykeeper consultants sampled mud from the same ditch Simpson and SHN said they had cleaned up. Baykeeper found dioxin at levels tens of thousands times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe. The sampling also revealed high levels of dioxin in Bay sediments, where the ditch empties.

Smells like a tresspass lawsuit waiting to happen. Un-named consultants as well?

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

It always made me wonder why enviros let Simpson get away with so many flagrantly environmentally destructive operations while enviros jumped all over PL for far less eco-destruction.

In general, I think that everytime an environmental protection group starts using lawsuits against whatever entity they aim at, that environmental group loses scientific credibility because the information they bring to court is only that which supports their case, i.e., their "side" has become too biased to be reliable scientifically.

But that said, something needs to be done about the contaminates leaking from Simpson's mill sites.

 
At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

North Korea is a greater risk to my health than any contaminants leaching into our Bay. (So is the sound of Al Gore's voice and the sight of Hillary's Clinton's face.)

 
At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get the science you pay for. Anyone who thinks industry doesn't massage and tweek science to get the results they want is an ostrich.

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Heraldo said...

Steve: Wholesale attack of environmentalists does not weaken their argument, it weakens yours. If Bay Keepers' only legal argument is based on "bias" it won't survive the first stages of the lawsuit.

You agree that something needs to be done about Simpson's contamination. If Baykeeper and CATS have a valid complaint, it will stand up in court; if not it won't.

 
At 3:53 AM, Blogger Steve Lewis said...

You have to remember that court judges are not scientists. By taking an environmental issue to court enviros (wholesale word, only two bits a dozen..) are putting the issue into the hands of amatures like themselves. And court decisions as we all know are often based on who's presented the best courtroom theatre.

To me, an environmental protection group should always aim for conflict resolution outside the court system but this way doesn't get headlines like courtroom shootouts do which is why enviro groups go for the media--it makes them look like enviro defenders against __________fill in the evil corporate target of the week. But it's still plastic activism--that does more to divide the community and divert environmental attention away from greater issues such as the huge one enviros never want to face realistically because of the political consequences of pissing off their economic and political base, the unchecked environmental impact of thousands of Humboldt homesteaders on subdivided watershed ecosystems.

 
At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Steve.

Bit - if you want to clean it up, get off your lazy ass and buy it.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

Maybe Stephen can answer why our local gov never takes the polluters to task.

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a sec - your rights end where mine start, and my rights include the right to live without someone else's toxic crap leeching on to my land, into my water or into the bay that I, as part of the public, also "own". Private property rights don't mean the property owner can violate the rights of others, including the public.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

It's completely amazing that this has JUST HAPPENED NOW. The Simpson Mill has been shut down for what, 15+ years now? I also have many doubts about a case study that lawyers use to cause lawsuits.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

Again, the Humboldt Baykeeper is less than 2 years old.

There are lots of things this community didn't do 15 years ago. Does that make everything done now suspect? For one the demographic of Eureka is changing and fast. There are many more community members concerned about issues that have long been allowed to languish by are local government and associated agencies.

Your argument about why the concern now is weak to say the least.

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Less then two years old, so it took them two years (of taking money in, I'm sure) before they started to do something, nay, anything? And NOW this just happens? If I ran my company for two years before I did anything, what would it be called?

 
At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No you hold on anon 10:46

you wrote: my rights include the right to live without someone else's toxic crap leeching on to my land, into my water or into the bay that I, as part of the public, also "own"

What land do you own that someone else's toxic crap is leeching into your land and water system? Huh? can you answer that one.

oh no - you will assume it is leeching into the Bay because it is a great bandwagon to jump on.

So if you can't point to what land you own or what water supply this is supposedly contaminating, don't claim you can. Period.

What does the State Water Board have to say about this? That would be a bit more interesting than 10:46 crying about the sky falling.

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of heat, little facts. Past errors or ignorance isn't a valid precedent for justifying the status quo.

I agree that anyone who acquires information that unlawful activity is going on should generally first report it to a law enforcement body before going to court. But practically, there may be good reasons to go to court first, especially if it cost a lot to acquire the information of unlawful activity.

Why don't all of you stop the "culture wars" and welcome anyone who has provable facts that migh protect our health? The dredging of the bay issue was very similar to this and seems to have been handled with much less bickering even though everyone involved had to compromise some.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

Certainly the water board is waiting in line for their turn.

As for the BayKeeper... read the papers or become a member. You can be troll if you like but I'm not doing your home work for you. They came out of the gate running. If you think it is simple or cheap to do the research or monitoring you are wrong. In addition to the litigation, they have assisted the Wiyot in water quality monitoring and offer free weekend bay tours complete with history and biology docents. Their volunteers assist with the "first flush" program.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

It is odd that someone can find fault with an organization that is trying to bring to light the issues that can have an impact on the health of not only the natural resources of the bay but those who live around it... and yet they let a disfunctional board like the Harbor District continue to create the same problems.

Those guys have blown through nearly a million bucks in studies on bringing container shipping to Humboldt Bay. Every single study has concluded shipping into Humboldt Bay is never likely to be profitable. One study after another they have tossed out. Now they are pitching the Headwaters Fund for another $200k study on shipping.

It was something like $19 million spent on dreding the Bay years ago and there is less shipping today then there was before the deepening.

 
At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throw the bums out if they are so corrupt but as the last board election showed, the current Harbor District members are what the people want, not the progressive elites.

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baykeeper, and its parent groups are all about lawsuits and money. That's all. Google them, you'll find out all about how they started suing, and have franchised out - now the local, here only two years bit - playing in the humboldt green pond. Sickening.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

I am not going to become a member of a "make lawyers more money, pro lawsuit, anti-anything" group such as the "Baykeepers" As so far as doing one's homework, feh, back up your claims, or shoot mine down with "facts" pulled outta someone's ass.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

What are your claims? With facts please.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

BTW - Mike Wilson was elected to the Harbor District.

 
At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told you to Google them bit, but I suspect you already know ALL about them, if you aren't part of them,you're very defensive of them in previous posts here on Fred's... when I get time i'll pull it up and post it here for ya. Well, not for you. But for others who might be tempted to believe they are good guys.

Not much different than jason Singleton, and they are proving that by their actions here, let's file another lawsuit! Yeah! That's what we stand for!

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger Bitxxx said...

Leonard bombed tonight at his little town hall meeting at the Wharfinger. I used to like that guy. But he can only talk and never listen.

 

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