What do you think the County’s biggest environmental challenges are, and how do you think the County should address them?
Virginia Bass: One of our biggest environmental challenges is the potential abandonment of properties that have been used for grows. These orphaned properties will become the responsibility of someone and that someone is most likely the county and the cost of cleaning up these properties could be astronomical. I don’t believe we have really gotten a handle on what that could look like and that concerns me. I can’t say I have an answer other then we need to be prepared because we know that some of these will land in our lap and they will be ours to deal with.
Dani Burkhart: Irresponsible subdivision and development of our timberland is a problem. Improperly developed roadways continue to contribute sediment to our streams. County’s regulations continue to allow subdivision and construction in sensitive habitat with limited recourse for failing infrastructure. The County must implement a program to abate cannabis properties that are operating outside the regulatory system. The County must streamline the clean-up and restoration of cultivation properties operating within timberlands and allow them to relocate to agriculturally zoned properties. The window to enable this process is diminishing day by day as the statewide supply chain is being established in other counties.
Steve Madrone: The biggest challenge is to create sustainable practices and agriculture. We keep moving from one extraction industry to another and when they collapse we all suffer. The Cannabis industry is reeling from ordinances that incentivize large commercial grows and penalize small low impact grows. County needs to do better at crafting rules that incentivize low impact agriculture, while fining and regulating large impact operations. Forestry is changing and with even more improvements coming we are heading in a good direction. Collapse of salmon populations is a huge problem, and dam removal coupled with implementation of river release agreements must be honored.