Do you think it is a good idea to put an asphalt plant across the river from Petaluma’s Shollenberger Park?
No asphalt plant should be built in this area of sensitive wetlands and a population which deserves clean air, water, and peace and quiet.
Petalumans had the foresight to build a waste-water treatment plant that would address pre-treatment in preparation for higher-standards for release. It was a 20-year process that required raising waste-water rates. We had two ballot initiatives, two elections in a row. I was instrumental in bringing together a very diverse mix of people, from typically opposite sides, to work on defeating both initiatives. When I was elected to council I was thrilled to see the treatment plant’s completion with its polishing ponds and many additional acres of wetlands preserved. The plant passed EPA permitting and is jewel for Petaluma. As a kid I remember the treatment plant in Sacramento. I never thought I’d be proud to have my name on treatment plant, but I am.
In my undergraduate work I studied toxic chemicals like dioxins and their effects on women’s health. In my first temporary job out of college I worked for a company that was exposing workers to dangerous PVC dioxins. I take this issue personally because of the particular way it can affect women’s health. I lost a dear professor to breast cancer during my senior year. That year I knew more than a half dozen women with breast cancer. The use of toxics with unknown effects is disturbing and must be addressed. With health care costs skyrocketing, the health crisis of these toxics—coupled with the impacts within the ecosystems—we are facing an unknown economic damage from the use of these chemicals.
Prior to being elected, I lobbied and was successful in having the council adopt a zero-waste policy. Having fought against re-permitting of the Redwood Landfill, located in Petaluma’s watershed, I have worked to stop the impacts of these chemicals reaching our groundwater supply. While that environmental review is still being challenged in court, I am seeking to address zero-waste solutions for the entire County of Sonoma through my work as a representative on the Sonoma County Solid Waste Advisory Group. I was successful in having the highest goal of 100% diversion within 25-50 years and 90% by 2020. I have also pushed for the exploration of mining of the existing Meecham landfill to further remove source pollution from entering our groundwater.
Prior to being elected to Petaluma City Council I was at the forefront of a fight against the Dutra Asphalt Plant be permitted within one mile of our protected wetlands, schools and low-income neighborhoods. On Council I garnered a unanimous council to adopt the letter I wrote to the Board of Supervisors to oppose the project. I fought to have the City of Petaluma included in a lawsuit against the approval. We lost the first round in court, but I continue to make this an important political issue and with our council majority we are seeking an appeal of the ruling. The plant’s pollution in and around our waterways and compounding impacts to air quality is an environmental travesty, when considering other plants are going through upgrades to clean up their pollution, and there isn’t a demand for another plant.
Easy to say no but must study issue.
Anyone who’s been to Shollenberger Park can attest to its beauty, value to the surrounding community and vital role in the greater ecosystem of the Bay Area. It’s hard to see why anyone would want to jeopardize this special place – and yet that’s exactly what we face from the proposed Dutra asphalt plant. For years, I’ve been speaking out against this Dutra plant on the radio, in public statements and more recently as a candidate for Congress. This asphalt plant would release hazardous chemicals into the air and water – near schools and trails, across from a beautiful wildlife park and along the banks of the cherished Petaluma River.
Shollenberger Park and the surrounding areas are surely precious enough to be worth saving. I admire and support the strong coalition of local leaders engaged in this effort, including Friends of Shollenberger Park, Moms for Clean Air, the Madrone Audubon Society, Petaluma Tomorrow, the Petaluma River Council, Occupy Petaluma, the Petaluma City Council and many hundreds more individuals. This broad coalition to save Shollenberger Park is fighting for the rights of the public, the wetlands and the wildlife for future generations to come. We are calling for more allies, to protect the air we breathe, the open space we enjoy and the economic vitality of Petaluma and Southern Sonoma County.
- Above answer is excerpted from “An Open Letter from Norman Solomon on Saving Shollenberger Park”: http://www.solomonforcongress.
While this is not a Federal issue, I understand the concerns. As a Supervisor, I have recently been in a very long struggle with this same operator in Marin County, over a long-operating quarry near a residential neighborhood. After a series of lawsuits and citizens actions, I brought both sides together to reach a resolution, that both could live with, and which ensured strict enforcement of environmental regulations. There is no one-size fits all solution to these issues. Strict zoning is key to keeping polluting industrial operations of any type out of residential neighborhoods and away from sensitive environmental areas.
It sucks. It’s hideous. Bye, bye Dutra!
That sounds like a local issue. The Constitution is very explicit in what powers are granted to the U.S. Congress (A1), the president (A2) and the courts (A3) and the rest are left for the states (A4).
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So long as air pollution is adequately controlled, I believe that any “visual blight” problem from locating industry near a recreational area is an acceptable tradeoff, where the jobs and the goods produced are badly needed. The “not in my back yard” syndrome recently cost Marin County a substantial number of good jobs which George Lucas will now locate elsewhere. I do not support locating industrial “eyesores” mainly in minority group neighborhoods because of NIMBY.
I have concerns about the project, and want to make sure there is complete and accurate information informing the decisions of the Sonoma County Supervisors, and that state and federal regulators are holding the project to the highest standards as they carry out their responsibilities. But a member of Congress, like state legislators, should avoid grandstanding and pandering on local land use decisions. My position is the same as Congresswoman Woolsey and Senator Leno, who, without taking a categorical position for or against this local project, joined me for the public meeting I convened to hear from leading scientists, regulators, and constituents. I’m happy to have my environmental credentials and record of leadership compared to any other candidate. Indeed, the environmental community has done that and honored me with every environmental group endorsement in the race, as well as endorsements from individual environmental leaders in Petaluma like Bill Kortum and David Keller.
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