March 16, 2004
Energy giant Calpine has just announced that it is withdrawing its proposal for an LNG terminal on Humboldt Bay! Last night 1,500 angry residents packed the Municipal Auditorium at a special session of the City Council scheduled to vote on signing an Exclusive Right To Negotiate agreement with Calpine. Demonstrators with signs gathered outside the auditorium an hour before the meeting. During the meeting, protesters chalked "Calpine Go Home" and "Love Not Gas" on the sidewalk. Meeting lasted from 6PM until 10:30PM. During that time, 77 citizens spoke, each given 3 minutes: 59 opposed Calpine, only 18 spoke in favor of signing the agreement. Speakers were interrupted by cheers and applause, and shouts for Calpine to go home. At the end of the meeting at least 125 people were on a list still waiting to speak. A second meeting was scheduled for Thursday night.
Bob Ornelas, longtime Green and Mayor of Arcata, reminded the City Council that "tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I call on the spirit of St. Patrick to drive Calpine out of Humboldt County just like he drove the snakes out of Ireland." Speaker after speaker called for balanced sustainable economic development and alternative energy. One speaker revealed that the City Council had been dealing with the corporation since 2001 although news of the LNG project was only announced to the public last year. Basically people here said they did not want to see the County industrialized but want Humboldt County to keep its unique way of life. As well as opposition from individuals, many groups including the Humboldt Fisherman's Association, the Humboldt Surfriders, Veterans for Peace, the Audubon Society, the North Coast Environmental Center, the Environmental Protection Information Center, and the Eureka Greens took official positions against the project. As Mike Buettner, organizer of the No LNG Coalition, said after Calpine's announcement this evening, "It's time to Party!"