Humboldt Baykeeper seeks to ruin yet another local business in appeal to Supervisors; predatory legal action soon to follow?

Humboldt Baykeeper has made quite a name for itself here in Humboldt and throughout the North Coast. Unfortunately, Baykeeper has less notoriety for carrying out their “mission”  “to safeguard our coastal resources for the health, enjoyment, and economic strength of the Humboldt Bay community” and are more well-known for their attacks against private businesses.

True to form, Baykeeper has wormed their way onto the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for tomorrow with an appeal aimed at derailing Royal Gold, a soil producing company, from moving and expanding their operations to a more suitable industrial location.

So, remind us – how does targeting local businesses for operating within the limits of the law and with the express approval of multiple local, state, and federal agencies do anything to safeguard the economic strength of the Humboldt Bay community?

Well, one could argue that Baykeeper’s tactics do serve to strengthen their own economic prosperity. As seen in a confrontation last year between Baykeeper and the owners of ACE Hardware in McKinleyville, Jen Kalt and her ‘keeper cronies love to allege serious environmental violations against businesses, and then seek compensation for their “work” through legal action.

(You can read more about the case of Baykeeper/Kalt vs. Companies that actually benefit our area in this post: Environmental group sues private business)

Humboldt County’s Planning Commission and the County Planning Department – who mostly hate to even be in the same room together, let alone agree on anything – both feel that Baykeeper’s appeal on Royal Gold’s move is baseless. The Planning Commission already approved the conditional use permit required for Royal Gold to expand their operation, and planning staff has recommended to the Supervisors to deny Baykeeper’s appeal.

If you check out the agenda for tomorrow’s board meeting, you’ll find the staff report related to the public hearing on Baykeeper’s appeal.

If you go to the very end of that staff report, you’ll see that Kalt cc’d Jason Flanders of the Aqua Teris Aeris Law Group – a group which specializes in environmental law and places a special emphasis on litigating on the behalf of individuals and “non-profits” that target government agencies and private businesses.

Here’s the full text of the county staff recommendation for the agenda item:

“Staff Recommendation: The project as proposed, conditioned and mitigated hos been referred
to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which found that measures included were
protective of biological resources. Staff supports the applicant’s consultant contention that this
issue is adequately addressed in the MND. Mitigation Measures, and Conditions of Approval.
The applicant’s consultant concluded that: “The appellant did not provide any specific
information about what hydrologic connection the site has to Hall Creek or how aquatic species
are specifically being impacted by the exceedances of Numeric Action Levels (NALs)
established by the SWRCB. This unsupported conclusion does not meet the criteria for substantial
evidence in § 15384 of the CEQA Guidelines. Therefore, the appeal letter from Humboidt Bay
Keeper (sic) is lacking sufficient information and evidence to substantiate the claim that the
Royal Gold soil operation may interfere with CDFW restoration efforts on Hall Creek.” Staff
concurs with this assessment.”

It should also be noted that Royal Gold’s move is motivated in part by coming into compliance with existing County code – which means that Baykeeper is also trying to stop a local business from doing things the right way. And Baykeeper may potentially be trying to profit from making it even harder on a business to succeed and operate.

Of course, Baykeeper attempting to sue either the County or Royal Gold is not a sure thing. But given their track record, and how doggedly Baykeeper has pursued this single case despite the numerous bureaucratic hurdles and various agencies a conditional use permit must go through prior to approval, well…Let’s just say that THC won’t be surprised to see Baykeeper trying to squeeze somebody for money under the guise of “protecting our community” yet again.

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9 Responses to Humboldt Baykeeper seeks to ruin yet another local business in appeal to Supervisors; predatory legal action soon to follow?

  1. Here we go again: Just like True North (whatever) is under HAF, Humboldt Baykeeper (which announces itself as a nonprofit on its Facebook page
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humboldt-Baykeeper/110928125607214
    and gives links for donations and on its website it gives a link for donations, but in the ‘Mission” statement:
    http://www.humboldtbaykeeper.org/mission/mission.html
    we find this:
    “Humboldt Baykeeper is a program of the Northcoast Environmental Center, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving, protecting, and celebrating terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems of northern California and southern Oregon.

    Our Tax ID# is 23-7122386. Please specify that your donation is intended for Humboldt Baykeeper.”
    ————————————————————————————————-
    From NEC’s website, writing about the new location:
    “New  Headquarters  for  Environmental  Groups
    November  23,  2016  –  On  December  1,  the  Northcoast  Environmental
    Center,  Humboldt  Baykeeper  and  Californians  for  Alternatives  to  Toxins  (CATS)
    will  have  new  headquarters  in  the  Cooper  Building  at  415  I  Street  in  Arcata”
    Further down is this:
    “The  NEC  also  welcomes  CATS  as  a  new  Associate  Member  group”
    A search of the Charity listings on the AG website shows ‘CATS’ (under the official name)
    has not filed a report with the AG’s office for several years and that their registration status
    is delinquent.
    ——————————————————————————————
    My opinion: I think the work the many groups in California, the nation and the world are doing to
    preserve the environment is laudable and work well worth doing and supporting.
    But while demanding others obey all the laws (and some which could only be applicable to some situations by inference, not by law or logic) it is almost fraud to 1) list yourself as a nonprofit organization when there is no nonprofit status recognized by the State of California (Humboldt Baykeeper) or 2) fail to perform the simplest of requirements for nonprofit status with the State of California by not performing the annual registration as required by the laws they agreed to accept and follow (CATS).

    I don’t know how NEC is handling the donations to the Humboldt Baykeeper group but it is not a healthy approach to reputable representations of one supposed core values and commitments.

    To me, in a word: Dodgy.
    And the Baykeeper is now trying to lecture others on what is right and wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TMOB says:

      That reads like some ultra-religious/cultish groups that claim “discrepancies” are acceptable because some higher power gave us the ok to slack on the paperwork while we get our message out. A non-profit “delinquent” status isn’t a minor oversight. That’s lazy at the least and takes a while to get tagged with that. A little shady to me, no matter what their cause is. More suspicious because attorneys are involved that likely well know of timing requirements of things and an “oversight” bumps things off to another year. Or another court date. Or just tie things up and hope nobody notices. It’s what they do.

      Like

  2. Lance says:

    Some additional context on Royal Gold’s proposal would be nice? Is that asking too much?

    Like

  3. Robert TUEL says:

    Where was Humboldt BAYKEEPERS during all the human waste pollution of the PALCO Marsh and Humboldt Bay

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DA: If someone steals a car and then wins a race while driving it, does that mean that person should still be given the prize even if the car wasn’t theirs? Contesting an election process is one public activity protected by law.
    We, as citizens, have a right to petition elected officials to see that laws are obeyed and enforced.
    So I just found out that the Baykeepers have been calling themselves nonprofit for a while does that mean that I can’t blow the whistle on that and ask that someone explain why they’re claiming nonprofit status when they’re not?
    Some things take time to check out. It’s not some psychic power that a person suddenly realizes that something could be wrong. No, it happens when someone asks themself “what’s going on here” and decides to look into it. Not for pay, not supporting one side or another, just wanting to know the facts. And it takes time to do research. Takes a little background knowledge so you know where to look.
    And for me, the bottom line is that no matter what the INTENT was (of anyone), intent doesn’t count when it comes to interpreting the law (‘Officer I didn’t intend to drive 100 mph, but I was pretty wasted so it’s not my fault’–well, maybe that might work in Humboldt, but it shouldn’t).
    Isn’t the purpose of this forum to have the editor propose subjects, provide information and then let us express our opinion, or even more radical, ask intelligent questions, maybe provide useful information that hopefully moves the debate/discussion forward.
    I lived in Willow Creek and some Moonie people came through, very polite, well-dressed, they were selling boxed candy to support church youth activities. They approached locals who were better dressed than some and they sold maybe a half dozen boxes…I’d read about them so I asked one woman with a box of the candy (it was old and stale when she opened it) and she said they were from Redding, she thought since they were with a church and were so polite and clean…
    I broke the news to her and she went and called all her friends as well as going around town (doesn’t take long in WC), yelling out the window to people she knew: “don’t buy from them, they Moonies!” Most people didn’t know who the Moonies were but it was enough that they were warned so no more candy was sold.
    The basic premise was true: They were selling candy for the church. Their church. But the additional info was that it was considered a cult, there was no real youth program and there wasn’t a church in Redding.
    That’s how I feel about companies calling themselves ‘nonprofit’ when they don’t fit the legal definition of what a nonprofit is in the State of California. I think it’s a bit of a scam.
    So the intent was to find a candidate to run for a vacant office. Why the big drunk chicken race?
    So the intent was to protect the environment. So why not do it legally with the State? Why the runaround?

    Like

    • Sammy says:

      The obvious answer? Because over the past 20 or so years they have been able to do so, so they have done it.

      No one wants to see the environment go to the hand basket, and yet the non-profits have been scooping up dollars for ‘actions’ (my butt) and to pay for staffing for years with the help of the more popular ones like Sierra Club (ad nauseum). then they throw the money at the educational grooming of our children to only believe what they are told. No more trees? B.S.

      No longer are the next generations thinking for themselves; or caring for themselves to the point of self sufficiency or to be productive members of our society; they just keep slurpin’ off the ‘ol public trough, following the set agenda of the non-profits.

      As for Jen, is she still so stoned that she can’t write or remember what she said 5 minutes ago??? Is she still doing Marky Mark? Is she still so red and shiny that she glows in the dark???? Pathetic.

      Like

  5. For those that wonder what went on at the appeal, and what the facts (actual facts!) are, here’s what to do:
    Go to:
    Link for the agenda (and results) of the Board of Supervisors meeting of 6 December 2016:
    http://humboldt.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=1087&meta_id=140111#

    On right side of page, click on Agenda
    A pop up will appear asking if you want to open or save.
    Save, then open.
    Scroll down to
    L.
    Public Hearings
    Planning and Building Department

    Appeal of the Planning Commission Approval of the Royal Gold Conditional Use Permit
    Application. Case No.: CUP-13-021A. File No.: APN 516-191-079. Glendale Area
    1.
    “That the Board of Supervisors open the public hearing and receive the staff
    report, testimony and argument by the appellant and applicant, and public
    comment; based on the findings in the staff report and testimony received about
    the project, deny, the appeal in full, adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration,
    and adopt Resolution No._____ (Exhibit A of Attachment A) approving the
    Royal Gold Conditional Use Permit application subject to the conditions of
    approval (Exhibit B of Attachment A); direct the Clerk of the Board to give
    notice of the decision to the appellant, the project applicant, the agent and any
    other interested party; and close the public hearing.”

    Pdf attachment with all pertinent documents
    Staff Report, Draft Board Resolution, Appeal
    Planning Commission Resolution, Staff Report and Supplemental Info.
    Action Summary, Responses to Comments on Appeal
    Click on the pdg to open or save (you may want to save, it’s 15 pages of text
    Bay Keeper’s appeal and Royal Gold’s response
    ==================================================
    My personal take is that Bay Keeper didn’t do enough research and did too much
    assuming based on the limited research that they did do. I have over 20 years experience
    reading (and actually understanding) government documents and reports and while it’s not
    easy, if it’s your JOB then you do it the right way. Or you don’t do it the right way and hope
    a little hysteria and bogus claims will cloud the issues.

    What I wonder is why Bay Keeper, with so many issues to which they might devote time and
    money, they chose to pursue this when a thorough perusal of the documents ON FILE—they are public records—they wouldn’t have started.
    As far as I can tell what they have succeeded in doing is:
    Costing Royal Gold (who have done everything they were required to do, and more) money for the appeal
    Costing the County of Humboldt for all the employee-hours to examine, verify and present to the Board of Supervisors via the Planning Commission
    And the costs for the actual appeal during a Board of Supervisors meeting.
    Where is Bay Keepers getting the money for the appeal and if they are NOT a nonprofit (which they’re not) who would finance this and how would they benefit?

    I do think that Bay Keepers have accomplished something with this appeal and it is that they have shown themselves to be unprofessional in research and presentation. Any subsequent appeals will suffer for the lack of professionalism shown here.
    Or, since I like Aesop’s Fables, they’ll be The Boy Who Cried Wolf

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gabriele, Wow! You are rapidly becoming our favorite poster. Thank you ever so much for all the research and insight. Let us know where to send it and we’ll pass on a ton of THC swag. All collectors items that will likely be worth millions in the future. We would love to chug a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades with you too. Your post says it all. Cheers!!

      Like

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