By Supervisor Paul Roen
Golden West Saloon
April 22, 2016
Hello and thank you for making the effort to be present today. It is local government month across the nation and it is Earth Day so there could not be a more appropriate and timely opportunity to make a public announcement that showcases the success and effectiveness of our local government and the birth of a project that has so many environmental benefits, economic potential and regional significance. This type of public announcement is not a common practice in the County but in this case, the significance of the subject matter and its importance to the County and City elevates the subject to one that needs to be shared immediately with all of you.
I am very excited and extremely pleased to announce a major project that has been under consideration for months involving the Sierra Pacific Industries property behind us which consists of 212 acres of industrial, business park and residential opportunities. Since early spring of 2015 when Supervisor Adams and I were able to organize a critical summit meeting in Truckee to discuss the future of the Sierra Pacific Industries property in Loyalton, we at the County level have been very engaged in meetings, negotiations, and coordination with Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Business Council, US Forest Service, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, Northern Sierra Partnership, Sierra Pacific Industries and others to create, support, and implement a regional project that will have immediate and lasting impacts on our communities and today, it is being formally announced that the University of California and Sierra Pacific Industries have executed an agreement that will enable the purchase by the University of California of the entire Sierra Pacific Industries property holding for the development of a regional educational facility for the UC system, including research and development into wood and forest product technology, bio fuels, biomass energy production and cogeneration, forest health, and other key components of a full service educational facility.
Additionally, the County has been meeting with upper management with the California Conservation Corps (not a Department of Corrections inmate), and the agency is committed to looking at a full service facility to be located on this property to serve the increasing needs of the Eastern Sierra region. The relationship between the UC system and the California Conservation Corps is very close and very compatible. This project will provide local employment opportunities, an increased source of local and regional commerce, will introduce a large number of people to the region, stimulate housing construction and the County will be the recipient of a modern, technologically advanced educational facility that will have regional and nationwide recognition.
We are encouraged by this series of developments and I want to take a brief moment to recognize those contributing agencies that are working on our behalf.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy has been a strong supporter and key agency to bridge any issues involving financing and issues within the Sierra Region; Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative has been a critical partner in assessing electrical generation and distribution issues; Sierra Business Council has been a strong base of support within its membership and ability to reach out to those who can assist; US Forest Service who has been committed to coordinating its forest health project and feed stock to the biomass opportunities for the environment and the region; Sierra Pacific Industries who has recognized and accommodated the County’s requests to delay decommissioning of the Loyalton plant and to seriously consider opportunities which the County may suggest; the California Conservation Corps which has attended meetings with us locally and has developed a strong sense of commitment to a project at this site; and finally but most noteworthy, is the University of California which has recognized the value of this property and the opportunities that exist from a project at this site.
The potential for partnerships...the ability to develop cooperative ventures...the economic and business opportunities that will be stimulated locally...the investment in public and private capital into this region...these factors individually and collectively offer an opportunity that we have not seen available in our recent history. An industry and an opportunity that is so engrained in our local culture and economic history and which is so compatible with the use of this property can offer immediate and long-term benefits.
I look forward to now being able to openly discuss and promote this project with my fellow Board of Supervisors and with the city of Loyalton. Although I have given general reports to the Board of Supervisors in the past few months, specific details could not be openly discussed pending the outcome of private negotiations that were ongoing between the parties. However, we are now being made aware the decisions have been made, agreements have been executed and the concept of this project is now a matter of public information and I am excited and very proud to be in the position today to be able to announce this milestone and share it with you.
Supervisor Paul Roen