Letters to the Editor

Bakersfield Caifornian, November 11, 2013

HECA project isn’t worth risk

It is not necessary to sacrifice local lungs to gain the jobs Hydrogen Energy California promises, as implied in theCommunity Voices article by Les Clark (“HECA will mean jobs, power and product for Kern County,” Nov. 6).

The $408 million federal tax given to HECA could have been used to hire and train underemployed workers to paint existing, local roofs high albedo (heat reflecting) white and insulate older homes. That should save more electricity than HECA hopes to produce.

HECA would import trainloads of coal to worsen our air pollution. The coal becomes carbon dioxide which will be injected into Occidental’s wells to force out oil that will be burned into carbon dioxide.

When estimating how many “permanent” jobs, not construction jobs, HECA would provide, we must subtract any farm management or labor jobs lost due to use of land by HECA. How many local workers have the skills HECA needs? What would happen to HECA if Occidental decided they could no longer profitably extract oil from the local field at whatever price that oil brought?

If HECA chooses to make potentially explosive fertilizer, they can only provide 30 MW of electricity for the community.

HECA will consume 7,500 acre feet of water per year; all of that water is used by the local pistachio trees. This is not “brackish water.” Climate disruption due to global warming will bring longer and more severe droughts. We can’t make energy with the water farmers and residents need.

Arthur Unger


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