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PG&E, environmental experts to attend May 25 cloud-seeding forum

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer

Almost from the time scientists discovered how to coax extra moisture from clouds, they have done it.

Today’s cloud-seeding technology can produce up to 10 percent more rain and snow in areas where it has been determined necessary.

But cloud-seeding has many vocal opponents who say chemicals used in the process are bad for the environment.

Wednesday, May 25, rain-maker Pacific Gas and Electric Company will take part in a community forum with concerned citizens from the Lake Almanor basin.

The meeting will be held at the new community center (next to the Almanor Basin Community Center) in Chester from 6 to 8 p.m.

District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said a number of experts on the topic would be there to answer questions and give their input.

“The ABWAC (Almanor Basin Watershed Advisory Committee) chair and myself have been working with PG&E, with the Air Quality Management District and other agencies to bring experts to this public forum,” Thrall said.

PG&E representatives heard a short presentation from Chester resident — and cloud-seeding opponent — Lisa Marcus at the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, May 3, in Quincy.

Before the board advised Marcus that she might be better served voicing her concerns in front of experts at the May 25 forum, she offered a sample of those concerns.

“I think it’s reasonable to ask: After 55-plus years of (cloud-seeding) chemicals being dropped on us — which have not really been exposed — how does it affect our water, our lake? How is it to breathe?” Marcus asked. “There’s just a lot of things I want answered and I’m not getting those answers from PG&E.”

Marcus asked, “Why does L.A. (Los Angeles) have better air than us? I moved away from L.A. to get away from that, and now I’m in it.”

Marcus directed her concerns to two PG&E representatives attending the meeting who encouraged her to ask those questions at the May 25 forum.

Thrall, whose district includes Lake Almanor, said Marcus’ group has never contacted her.

“I hope we’ll get all the answers that everyone wants at the public forum,” Thrall said before turning her attention to Marcus. “And I’m not sure why you came (to the Board of Supervisors) now, rather than wait until after the public forum when (the board) would have background to take an action.”

Marcus said she just wanted more public awareness.

And then she blasted the county’s largest taxpayer, PG&E.

“PG&E owns this town,” she said. “I’m sorry, but it is really going to be tough to get some answers that aren’t going to be very biased. Because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

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