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
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"
ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION (ERF)'S HUMBOLDT BAYKEEPER PROJECT...