Napa County Climate Action Plan (CAP) Update

Sonoma County General Plan slowly moving forward….Will they give vintners advantages like Napa?

“An observation of today’s meetings seemed that viticulture will not be required to answer to many changes. Indeed it has carved out advantages for itself. The Napa Valley Vintner’s Association representative thanked the commission for incorporating their requested changes. The protection of oak woodlands has been stripped from the CAP.”

Napa County Climate Action Plan (CAP) Update

On Wednesday, June 19, the Planning Commission met to discuss the Draft EIR and CAP with a presentation from the hired consultants, and to take public comment. Watch the video  here. Public comment has been extended to July 9. This is such an important issue for our future. Please take a moment to study the plan and send in your comments. If you have time, compare the red-lined version to the current version. 
Takeaways from Wednesday’s meeting:
  • It was recognized by both public speakers and the commission that the county and the cities of Napa County must work together for a collaborative and cohesive approach. That process is in progress and will be an important outcome in the near future.
  • There are many burdens and sacrifices to be made by everyone. The big question is how will those be fairly and equitably distributed among all constituents – residents, commercial entities, and dominating agriculture?
  • An observation of today’s meetings seemed that viticulture will not be required to answer to many changes. Indeed it has carved out advantages for itself. The Napa Valley Vintner’s Association representative thanked the commission for incorporating their requested changes. The protection of oak woodlands has been stripped from the CAP. And, vintner members of Napa Green will be given priority when applying for expansions in their wineries’ permits. Indeed, many county supportive programs seem to be ready to help agriculture. However, incentives and support for local residents has not been developed. 

  • An important question for vineyards: With the shortage of labor, there is far more mechanization with GHG equipment in the fields. The impact of this increased mechanization and resultant GHG was not addressed. Black carbon agricultural burning was not adequately addressed. 
  • Thanks to insightful questions by Eve Kahn during public commentary, it was recognized that incentives for homeowners are missing from this plan. What kind of  support will there be for residents to retrofit hot water heaters, add rooftop solar, new windows, or other energy efficient improvements to their homes? Will there be partnerships to support these energy conserving and expensive changes for homeowners? The commission and the consultants were unclear about these important details that will be critical for success.
  • And, another observation: MCE (Marin Clean Energy) seems deeply entwined with Napa County’s energy needs. Is this the best company for the county? How clean is this company? Read more here.
Planning Director David Morrison noted that available data, direction, technology, and assessments are moving very fast in the area of climate change and that the state will have many mandates that the county and cities need to follow. It will require continuous updates to the plan.

There are far more questions than there are answers, but forward momentum is important.

For a concise history of the CAP, read “Napa County has taken a decade to create a climate action plan”, North Bay Business Journal.

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