WHATS WRONG WITH AN ASPHALT FACTORY NEXT TO A WETLANDS AND PARK?
Dutra Materials ( a private multi-million dollar corporation) will reap profits at the expense of ordinary people who will suffer the noise, pollution, and blight of an asphalt plant near homes, residences, businesses and schools at the Gateway to Petaluma and Sonoma County.
Remember when pregnant women were told smoking was okay? Health and safety regulations usually lag years-sometimes decades- behind what science tells us is true. Judge Chouteau let a faulty Health Risk Analysis for a previous version of Dutra's project stand, declaring it insignificant. But for whom?
Health and Particulate Matter:
As we learned from UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialist Dr. Brock-Utne at the October 2010 Health Care Forum regarding the impacts of the Dutra project, current regulatory standards may not reflect the recently established medical research demonstrating that particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) from diesel emissions (trucks) has a very detrimental effect on health, especially in children. PM2.5 reaches the lower lungs, then the bloodstream and cells of us all. In children it disrupts the normal development of the immune system. In addition oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – another type of diesel emission – have been linked to breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The Board of Supervisors, upheld by Judge Chouteau, approved this project even though NOx emissions from the Dutra plant exceed current regulatory standards.
Dutra's legal counsel Perry said: The project is exactly the same as the first description - still an asphalt plant, a conveyor belt, trucks, piles of aggregate.
All those conditions and it's still thesame project: noxious, toxic, ugly, noisy, produces excessive NOX, and generally destructive of the quality of life in Petaluma.
Monitoring Regulations and Mitigations:
From the serious impact of coal mining on the health of surrounding communities to the horrific gas pipe explosion and fire in San Bruno, devastating examples of government failure to update and regulate are far too common.
Although the Draft Environmental Impact Report accurately reported a PGE gas pipeline on Dutra's property, the County failed to notice when Dutra's project engineer supplied permit mapping erroneously moving 2 PG&E gas pipelines on the adjacent Shamrock property. The county didn't take corrective action and allowed the project to improperly and extremely dangerously place a barge facility over the PG&E gas pipelines. Had that been built, we could have seen a San Bruno-type disaster.
Given such an egregious oversight, it is unlikely that the county would carefully monitor 160+ regulations and mitigations in this project to supposedly protect our health and safety?
Traffic Congestion and Diesel Trucks
This project never was and never will be appropriate for this location. Dutra’s project proposes 50 diesel truck trips going in and out of the asphalt plant daily. This number will be even higher for the first three years of operation during which Dutra is not required to use barges on the river for transport. Diesel exhaust is a significant health risk and traffic congestion entering and exiting Petaluma will be negatively impact residents and tourists.
Is Duta's Asphalt Factory RIver Dependent?
Using "river dependence" as a loophole to approve (Supervisors) and uphold (Judge Chouteau) an industrial operation in the Voter Mandated Scenic View Corridor (Measure D 1998). the county rezoned these land parcels to light industrial. This is just the type of flexing of the Board of SUpervisors' power that Measure D sought to control. The wetlands have always been subject to the plunder and degradation of industrial operations - now we understand their value as filters, habitat and flood control and the trend is towards restoration.
Dutra has no docking facility. After supplying the Coast Guard with the erroneous river maps, the Coast Guard determined that the proposed docking facility on the Dutra property would unsafely impede river traffic. DUtra Revison 2 now envisions using their neighbor Shamrock Materials' existing dock, even though the court record shows a letter from Shamrock stating it is not in Shamrock’s best business interests to do so. There is no contract between Shamrock and Dutra. If Dutra can’t have a dock of their own and Shamrock won’t let them use their dock, what will happen in three years? The Supervisors have said that this project MUST be river dependant. Will the County force Dutra to stop asphalt production and tear down their buildings - just pack up and go home when they can’t use the river? Highly unlikely. Petaluma could be stuck with this increase in diesel truck traffic and pollution for decades.
Measure D – Scenic Corridor:
This ruling is the first assault on Measure D. Measure D was a 1998 ballot measure approved by a super majority of the Sonoma County voters, that created a scenic view corridor from the Marin County line to the Petaluma City limits. This ruling degrading that ballot measure would empower the County Supervisors to approve further industrial uses in the scenic corridor.
This goes against the will of the voters and the intention of Measure D.
The City must defend and protect our multi-million dollar investments in Shollenberger Park, Alman Marsh, Ellis Creek and the new wastewater treatment plant. The tax dollars of our residents should not be thrown away. The litigation record has been completed and paid for by the community. The cost of appeal is a small percentage of what we have already invested.
Judge Chouteau echoes the thoughts of former Supervisor Paul Kelley stating that this area of south county is an industrial site. Has he taken into consideration the building of the Marina, The Sheraton hotel, Shollenberger Park or the new Riverview 250 + home development looking down on the asphalt factory site?
SIgn this Petition to remind the City Council members and Mayor that each one of them stated they would not support this project. Remind them of their campaign promises. Tell them not to let a ruling out of the Sonoma County Court scare them from protecting their citizens, their park, and their Gateway. There is a reason appellate courts exist: It is to reverse flawed decisions such as this. Please sign our Petition and send a message to the Petaluma CIty Council to do what's right, stay the course, join the community coalition of non-profits and individuals as plaintiffs in this appeal.
Save Shollenberger! Appeal The Chouteau Decision
Dear Mayor Glass, VIce- Mayor Healy, Council Members Albertson, Barrett, Harris, Kearney, and Renee:
Thank you for standing for the health, environment, quality of life, and the engine of future economic prosperity of Petaluma - tourism, by joining as a plaintiff against the approval of the Dutra Asphalt factory at Petaluma's Gateway.
Just because one judge at the Sonoma County court decided against the CIty and the coalition of community non-profits and individuals - does not mean he is legally correct. That's why appellate courts exist - to remedy faulty decisions.
I am counting on you not to fold now, and to STAY THE COURSE, and do whatever is in your power to preserve and protect Shollenberger Park. the Petaluma Wetlands, and stand up for the future of Petaluma. The Petaluma Wetlands is worth protecting - taxpayers have already invested over 4 million dollars to restore these wetlands and improve this park.
This area is not just an industrial blighted site as Judge Chouteau would have it - but a Nationally recognized birding destination and Petaluma's FRONT YARD.
Please vote on Jan. 9, 2012 to join the appeal, stay the course, and save Shollenberger Park.