‘Financial Impacts to Our Community and County are Staggering’ | TheUnion.com

‘Financial Impacts to Our Community and County are Staggering’

Susan Hoek
Supervisor, District IV

It came fast but fall is here, especially with the leaves dropping and trees wrestling in the wind. It’s been two years since the major wildfires we experienced in October of 2017. The entire state was reminded of the dangers of wildfires with the most recent Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) that PG&E held when they shut off power to more than thirty counties across the state.

Nevada County lost power during PG&E’s Phase 1 of the PSPS event that impacted approximately 513,00 customers, not to mention the second and third phases were hundreds of thousands more lost power.

The financial impacts to our community and County are staggering, with grocery stores and restaurants throwing food away, schools loosing significant revenue for canceling school for three days, and every resident having to throw food away and losing income from businesses closing.

Our Office of Emergency Services did open our Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in order to coordinate resources to ensure the most vulnerable folks were able to get support and assistance through the event.

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The County is submitting comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) who is currently undergoing two proceedings reviewing how PG&E and other investor-owned utilities (IOUs) engage with the public and local governments on their wildfire hazard mitigation efforts and the process to conduct de-energization of power lines.

The CPUC is not expected to make a ruling until spring of 2020 on its final regulations. However, the County is a member of two different advocacy organizations called the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) who are participating in these proceedings and are including the County’s comments on the PSPS event.

We will be ensuring that our advocates and the CPUC are well aware of the impacts that PSPS have on our community and the need for increased transparency on how PSPS are determined and implemented.

Unfortunately, devastating wildfires have become the “new normal” and we anticipate more PSPS events to come. So if you have not already done so, please sign up for Code Red and automatic notifications through our News Flash at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/1182/Office-of-Emergency-Services to stay informed.

In other news, I am pleased to announce three new members to the Penn valley Area Municipal Advisory Council (PV MAC) that include Ms. Teresa Dietrich, Mr. Ryan Everson, and Mr. Rob Tribble.

I would like to thank all of our outgoing initial members Ms. Stephanie Stevens, Ms. Susan George, Mr. Michael Sulivan, and Mr. Andrew Burton for their work on establishing the PV MAC and serving District IV for two years – thank you.

To remind folks, the PV MAC a formal council that was established for the sole purpose of advising the District IV Supervisor, the Planning Department and Board of Supervisors on development and land use issues within District IV. The MAC meets every third Thursday of the month at the Buttermaker’s Cottage in the Western Gateway Park from 6-7:30p.m. Members of the public are always welcome to attend. Agenda’s for the forthcoming meetings are posted on the Monday before the meeting at MyNevadaCounty.com and at the Penn Valley True Value and Penn valley Shopping Center Community Boards.

Last but not least, I am pleased to report that at a recent meeting the Board of Supervisors approved a Letter of Support to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVWB) to encourage the Board to consider special regulations for “low threat” crop types and qualifying criteria for irrigated pastures in order to reduce administrative costs and regulatory reporting costs to our farmers and growers in District IV and across the County.

The CVWB is one of nine (9) Regional Water Boards within the state that establishes policies and regulations to protect the quality of surface and ground waters throughout the Central Valley. The CVWB is the largest and most diverse region that covers approximately 75% of the State’s irrigated agricultural lands and provides more than 50% of the State’s total water supply.

CVWB’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) issues permits and conducts compliance and enforcement activities to ensure growers are complaint with CVWB regulations. Growers are regulated either individually or through one of the region’s eight (8) third-party coalitions. Coalition-members in Nevada County are captured within the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition and represented by the Placer-Nevada-South Sutter-North Sacramento Subwatershed Group.

We are hopeful that new special regulations will ease the financial burden and costs that sometimes seem unnecessary.

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