Taking time to pause and celebrate victories is often challenging, but it is so good for the soul. So, I want to take a moment to shout from my metaphoric rooftop that we saved the North Coast from being poisoned by coal!!
In the course of the past year we built a coalition, No Coal In Humboldt, which successfully fought off the threat of coal trains running through the heart of the Eel River. We faced a threat to the river which would have poisoned our entire watershed and beyond. And now we’re on the other side of that, eager to celebrate the victory. We still have a battle ahead with Mendocino Railway over their intent to take a segment of the right-of-way; we’ll keep you posted on developments. But first, a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who supported this work, made donations, signed petitions, and wrote letters. The response from our community was inspiring to say the least.
Inspiration is so critical to the work we do. Protecting our natural world often feels like an uphill battle, with no breaks to celebrate victories, because a new threat is always around the corner. Your support literally keeps us going on a number of fronts. It keeps our lights on, our attorney bills paid, and our hearts full. And it provides a pathway to hope.
As Greta Thunberg said in her 2019 TED Talk, “instead of looking for hope, look for action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere”. Hope alone is not the endgame, nor should it be. But – when action results in meaningful changes, then we can create space for hope.
You may have seen the news earlier this month about Pacific Gas and Electric’s latest filings in the process to surrender their license for the Potter Valley Project. The quick version is that the company will do everything they can, including cherry-picking information and lying, to avoid their responsibility to limit harms to endangered species.
The Eel River presents a special opportunity to protect salmon and steelhead, and every citizen in California should be outraged that PG&E is preparing to thwart that opportunity.
We are working hard to hold them accountable, and to incentivize the company to make the right decisions. We’re engaging the California Public Utilities Commission to ensure that PG&E is setting aside enough money in their decommissioning fund to afford dam removal. We’re supporting on-going genetic research on the Endangered Northern California summer steelhead – the fish with the most to gain from dam removal on the Eel. And we’re preparing to file an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against PG&E for their operation of a project that harms, harasses, and kills endangered species.
The Eel River’s incredible native fish are up against formidable opponents. PG&E doesn’t appear to care when negligent management of their infrastructure kills people, so it should be no surprise that they also don’t care about killing wildlife.
To end on a celebratory note, our Bay Area Director David Keller is taking a much deserved retirement this year. Working with David has been a privilege and an incredible learning opportunity. Thank you, David, you will be dearly missed.
Thank you for ensuring this important work can continue. Together we can free the Eel!
For the Fish,