In response to the letter to the editor from Harbor Commissioner Greg Dale (“Richard Marks supports realistic port development,” Times-Standard, Oct. 20, Page A4), I wish to provide some corrections to his statements and assertions. I was the Division 3 commissioner during the channel deepening project. The project had two primary goals. The channels were deepened to provide proper depths for modern shipping vessels. More importantly, the bar and entrance were deepened and reconfigured to provide for safer passage of our fishing fleet and for the barges that bring Humboldt County its gas and fuel. Our worst fear was that a gas barge would crash against a jetty and spill into the bay. After completion of the channel deepening, several new businesses looked into relocating to Humboldt Bay but ultimately decided not to because of lack of rail connection for transportation of their products. Several rail analyses have been completed over the years. One concluded that transporting our solid waste out of the area would have been enough to keep the railroad solvent. Unfortunately, we ship our solid waste out of the county by trucks pounding down the road. I believe we must take steps to reduce our dependence on cars and trucks. Our environment and future depend on it.I applaud the harbor district for removing the toxic chemicals from the pulp mill. I just wish they had done their due diligence before accepting the property. The previous owner should have been held responsible for removing these toxic chemicals not the taxpayers.
Ron Fritzsche, Arcata; former Division 3 bay commissioner