The Napa County Department of Conservation, Development & Planning, working with the Napa County Department of Environmental Management and consultants at ICF, have prepared a REVISED Climate Action Plan for unincorporated Napa County and the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the revised plan and a checklist proposed for use by project applicants on Jan. 18, 2012.
The Napa County Board of Supervisors considered adopting the proposed Climate Action Plan. The plan would have required new and expanded vineyard and winery projects to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 38% over business-as-usual practices. If a project could not achieve that reduction onsite, they would be obligated to purchase offsets for a proposed 25 years.
After hearing testimony from the public that was overwhelmingly against adoption of the plan, the supervisors directed the Planning Department to essentially start over. In addition to testimony provided by Tim Schmelzer of Wine Institute, the Napa Valley Vintners, Napa County Farm Bureau, Winegrowers of Napa County, and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, as well as several small winery and vineyard operators, all testified in opposition. Wine Institute's testimony focused particularly on the fact that other counties were likely to look to Napa as precedential, and that the lack of solid data behind assumptions in the plan clearly showed it was not ready for adoption. In general, the supervisors appeared particularly concerned with the potentially severe economic impact the plan could have on small wineries, and were disappointed that the plan did not offer a more comprehensive solution to the county's traffic/transportation issues.
Several board members also noted the significant sustainability efforts that have been ongoing in the county by the wine industry. The refusal of the board to adopt the plan as proposed is an important development for the wine industry and Wine Institute will continue to work with the supervisors and planning committee and any new plan that may be developed.