Saturday, November 29, 2008

Will the job-killer lawyers stop the harbor?

It's good to see this topic FINALLY get some press. The predatory litigious orgs, the phony groups with Orwellian names, spawning new attack "projects," operating under the pretense of being a "grassroots" citizen effort when they are really extortion machines made up of teams of lawyers (Ecological Rights Foundation bragged that it has 17 lawyers on staff.) First reported here, and finally being recognized for what they are.

Will the job-killer lawyers stop the harbor? (not online)

Last week the board of harbor commissioners voted to proceed with the Humboldt Bay harbor plan developed by its consultants. This would begin with a modest break-bulk and short sea-haul terminal that also could accommodate occasional cruise ship stops. Later, if and when railroad service is available, the facility would expand to a container port. All of this would represent a boon of varying proportions to Humboldt County's economy.

We say "would" because there exists the possibility that one of a group of litigious no-growth lawyers may try to sue to stop harbor development. The Ecological Rights Foundation, its Baykeepers subsidiary, the Mateel Environmental Justice Center and the California Alternatives to Toxics make up a sort of federation. All have been plaintiffs in suits whose ostensible purpose has been to abate environmental pollution. On examining the cases, however, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that all of them have two objectives: 1.) getting settlements for large sums of money (which can fund additional legal attacks) and 2.) thwarting economic development. It adds up to killing jobs in Humboldt County's fragile economy.

The most recent example is the suit brought by Baykeepers/Ecological Rights Foundation against the past and present owners of Eureka's Balloon Track-- Union Pacific Railroad and CUE VI, respectively, and the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA)-- on the grounds that polluted water is emanating from the property into the bay. The property is already under a clean-up and abatement order, with which the owners are complying. One wonders, therefore, whether the real purpose of the suit is to discourage the owners from completing efforts to build the Marina Center.

The Ecological Rights Foundation and its confederates have a record of going after companies with deep pockets, and have charged them with having contaminated various sites. Among these have been Simpson, Sierra Pacific and Evergreen Pulp. Baykeepers, for its part, has consistently opposed any activity on the bay that would create new jobs and stimulate economic activity. They have opposed potential rail development, dredging of shipping lanes and the hiring by the harbor district of an experienced port expert to help it find users for a new port.

A modern harbor facility, developed with care in two stages as conditions warrant, is the one sure way Humboldt county can create a source of meaningful new jobs. This, is turn, can lead to increased family formations by yong people, home purchases, a reversal of the declining school population, improved retail sales and thsu the revenues that sustain our cities. Why, then, don't the lawsuit-happy lawyers of these supposed "environmental" groups stop attempting to prevent port development? The only answer we can think of is they desire a shrinking economy.

The Eureka Reporter Opinion page of the Times-Standard - Sunday, November 23, 2008
Peter Hannaford Editorial Page Editor

"Baykeeper" - LawsuitsRus
Incestous Activist groups
The "projects"
How much do they want?
In case you missed it...
Do as I say, not as I do
ERF donated more than $5,000 to the "Center for Ethics and Toxics"


  1. These blood sucking tic'a feel empowered by the proggie tone of the last elections. Hopefully Obama will support our infrastructures and our free society. He took about a million from Goldman Sachs so a working economy just might make his cut. Baykeepers just might not get their way. But don't worry they will never stop sueing. That's what they do.

  2. I'm all for a working port, but we have to be reasonable. Any proposal that relies on the rail being rebuilt thru the Eel River canyon is a flawed plan. It won't happen. Let's get some legitimate proposals and I'll start taking them seriously.

  3. More bassackwards thinking. If a bridge can be built across Confusion Hill to bypass its perennial landslides, a way can be made to develop a landslide resistant railway line. Lift the track above the moving ground with elevated tracks on bases that are rooted in solid rock. Think monorail, solar-powered, think creatively, but THINK instead of this really tiresome nay saying about human capacity to engineer solutions. It's really the same mentality as sticking your head in the sand when danger comes to believe we can't solve the Eel River canyon problem when all evidence of human abilities points in the opposite direction.

  4. I agree, Stephen. This weak, stymied victim mentality is unique to this generation. A generation which had such promise, which has had so much given to it.

  5. Actually, Rose, I do believe this isn't natural stupidity but part of the Left's inability to overcome "us" vs. "them" mentality, the mentality it takes to continually see the world in terms of left or right. NCRA= Humboldt Bay port development= Arkley corporate capitalist= corporate industry success= Lefties losing political power. A sad way to look at the world but it is political viewpoint of a lot of people who frequent these blogs.

  6. So you plan on voting yes on bonds for this project Rose and Stephen? How did you guys vote on the High Speed Rail Bond? That one made 100x more sense than any freight rail system thru the Eel, yet I bet you guys voted against it.

    It's a great thing that this one passed. High speed rail thru the developing central valley is forward thinking. And by the way, I'm all for a solar powered monorail system, but first someone needs to put together a vaild proposal.

  7. I voted for high speed rail as a token step in the right direction and thanks for supporting my old (1976) Solar Rail concept that is still very much needed throughout California.

    I have great reservations though about any BART-type system because I've ridden those god-awful noisy suckers and don't want that sort of badly designed technology foisted on any new solar powered monorail system. Electric trains do not have to make all the racket that subway trains and BART do if designed right.

  8. I voted for the High Speed Rail, also. Broke my current rule about Bond Measures because we badly need to invest in out infrastructure.

    I hope they spend it wisely and actually accomplish the goal. But I don't have alot of faith in any of our current politicians. If it isn't locked away from their grubby paws, they'll piss it away.

  9. So why do you think the Harbor District politicians will do better with their bond money?

  10. Good question, 7:59.

    I don't know. Maybe I have more faith in our local politicians and officials (so far) than I do the State Level. Actually, that's definitely the case. Wes Chesbro, Patty Berg... c'mon. They're about one thing and one thing only, keeping position, figuring out how to keep each other in, shuffling around, trying to beat the term limits. And naming things after each other. Worthless worthless worthless.

    I liked Patty before she got elected, but she has been worthless in that position, she became a partisan animal, and no, I don't trust her to vote for what is right. She will only vote party line.

    Are there any examples of her bucking the party? Or Chesbro? I haven't seen it. And with him I see alot of showing up at the end of a project for the photo op, no work.


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