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County supervisors pass renewable energy resolution

By Dale Andreasen, Siskiyou Daily News 4/14/09

Yreka, Calif. - Former Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Overman appeared before the board at its April 7 meeting along with former superintendent of schools Frank Tallerico to endorse a resolution supporting the development and production of renewable energy.

A letter of support for the resolution was received from Klamath Alliance for Resources and Environment.

“It’s a pleasure to be on this side of things,” said Overman regarding his role as member of the public versus his eight years as county decision-maker.

“The ability of this county to manage its own resources has been under attack for 20 years,” he stated. “The people who oppose efforts to manage our own natural resources are happy to see the forests burn up every summer.”

Overman said there must be a profit incentive in order for “our resource people to get into using these renewable natural resources.

“Timber harvest plans are always opposed,” he continued. “These people are very adept at using NEPA, CEQA, the Endangered Species Act and other state and federal laws.”

“We should have had a geothermal plant in the Medicine Lake area years ago; right now, the Roseburg [biomass cogeneration] project is being sued along with the county; and the county’s position on the Klamath River hydroelectric dams is being threatened.

“This board needs to be very proactive,” he asserted, “I encourage the board to support this resolution. Siskiyou County needs to be the loudest squeaky wheel in California.

“If we don’t do this, the county will wither on the vine, “ Overman warned, “We must fight to control our own natural resources.”

Tallerico commended the board for its stand against dam removal and for its support of other renewable energy projects, including the Roseburg Forest Products biomass cogeneration plant and others. He spoke favorably of utilizing materials taken from the forest for remanufacturing and for energy generation.

“Plus, we have one of the greatest geo- thermal assets in the United States,” he pointed out, “and we’ve been producing clean hydroelectric power for more than 100 years.”

“Washington and Sacramento don’t even want to know we exist,” he said and strongly urged the board to adopt the resolution in support of renewable energy development and production in the county.

“I spoke with a group of 20 foresters recently who were in support of this resolution,” said District 4 Supervisor Grace Bennett, “We need these people to be able to make a living.”

District 1 Supervisor Jim Cook said he thought the resolution was “great.”

Ed Valenzuela, district 2 supervisor, said he supports sustainable renewable energy, “with the emphasis on sustainable.”

Board Chair Michael Kobseff of district 3 said, “I, too, support this.” He mentioned that, at a recent meeting, he was successful in convincing the Regional Council of Rural Counties to add hydroelectric to its list of renewable energy efforts that it supports.

“It would be great to be energy self-sufficient,” said District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong, “But how do we get these materials [biomass, etc.] to where they can best be used?”

“This resolution may help,” said county natural resource policy specialist Ric Costales who introduced the resolution.

On a motion by Bennett, the board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution, which begins with the statement, “… from its very beginning Siskiyou County has been culturally and economically tied to the production of natural resources …” and concludes with, “Now, therefore be it resolved … that it is the policy of Siskiyou County to actively support and promote the development within the County of renewable energy industries, installations and infrastructures.”

South County fire departments to Receive $182,000 in state-of-art emergency medical equipment

Acting in its role as board of directors for County Service Area No. 3, the board of supervisors authorized the purchase of the latest automatic cardiopulmonary resuscitation equipment and other medical equipment with a total value at $182,000.

The equipment would be used by volunteer fire departments in Lake Shastina, Weed, Hammond Ranch, Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir and McCloud.

Brian Whitherell, who works for Mt. Shasta Ambulance Service and is also a volunteer with the Dunsmuir Fire Department, provided information about the equipment to the board.

“I’m all in favor of the latest, greatest and up-to-datest,” said Valenzuela.

Bennett asked if the new equipment works on children.

“No,” said Whitherell, “a patient must weigh at least 85 pounds and less than 250.”

County Service Area No. 3 was formed in 1981, when south county residents passed a special tax to be levied on each parcel of taxable land, for the purpose of providing ambulance services to the district. Funding, which amounts to $5413 per month, is used to contract with Mt Shasta Ambulance and to purchase medical equipment.

Resolution authorizing $6 million in bonds for Siskiyou Union High School District

Superintendent Mike Matheson of the Siskiyou Union High School District appeared before the board to ask for adoption of a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds to be used for renovation, acquisition and/or repair to school buildings and facilities.         
Although voters in the November general election approved the bond issue, by law the county board of supervisors must adopt the resolution for the sale to go forward. High schools in the district include Mt. Shasta, Weed, Happy Camp, McCloud and alternative school Jefferson.         

County treasurer/tax collector Wayne Hammar commended the district for hiring an independent auditor to handle the issuance and sale of the bonds. The ballot measure approved $12.5 million in bonds, but the district is issuing just $6 million at this time.

Following a motion to adopt the resolution by Valenzuela, the resolution passed unanimously.

The next regularly scheduled board of supervisors meeting takes place April 21 in the county courthouse. A closed session will take place at 9 a.m., followed by the public meeting at 10.
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