Napa County is at the forefront of a herculean effort to restore the Napa River, including the historic tidal marshes into a geomorphically stable, living estuarine system. Levees have been breached, old salt ponds are transitioning to tidal marshes and the restored tidal prism has greatly reduced the flood threat in the Napa Valley.
But all that good work stops at the Napa County line. On the other side of the county line, a shadow government has been working in secret to bring back polluting, heavy industry by dredging the lower Napa River to accommodate huge transpacific freighters.
Heavy industries along lower Napa river will not only sabotage Napa County’s efforts to restore the Napa River Estuary but potentially damage the vineyards in the Carneros Appellation.
Air and water doesn’t pay attention to arbitrary distinctions like county lines. Heavy Industries on the lower Napa River doesn’t affect only Vallejo. The cement plant and port are just the beginning. If the U.S. Army Corps dredges for large transpacific freighters, more heavy industry spewing toxins into our common air and waters will be inevitable.
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Vallejo development threatens Napa
One of the issues that Environmental Justice communities really focused on are the localized emissions. These are the things that are triggering asthma, that are triggering asthma mortality, that are happening at epidemic rates in Environmental Justice communities. Those issues are a dimension of greenhouse gas emissions, but they are not necessarily being talked about by the environmental community. That has got to change.
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RACE & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: A CONVERSATION WITH ACTIVIST VERNICE MILLER-TRAVIS
A report compiled by the University of Stuttgart and commissioned by the Irish firm, Ecocem, which finds that cement causes massive environmental damage has prompted a furious backlash from the Cement Manufacturers of Ireland.
The highly contentious report, which has not been made available to the wider public, finds that the manufacture of cement caused €2.1bn of environmental and health costs in the decade up to 2012. The impact on human health amounted to €450m over that period.
“Although a large range of pollutants is emitted in cement manufacture, the main pollutants contributing to the negative impacts are carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides and particulate matter.
“The impacts on human health include chronic respiratory disease, reduced lung functions or lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys, all leading to reduced life expectancy in those affected,” claimed the report.
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Cement industry slams eco report
Cement manufacture causes environmental impacts at all stages of the process.
All cement, whether slag cement or Portland cement, starts off as solid chunks of material which are then ground into a fine powder.
Slag cement is called “green” for one reason only: the solid base material is a recycled industrial waste product of the steel smelting process. As such, slag cement is not fired in ultra high temperature kilns, which is the process for Portland cement modules. The high temperature kilns are a key producer of greenhouse gases on a global scale hence the claim that slag cement is “green.”
But to say that slag cement is less polluting than Portland cement does not make it “green.” First, slag is full of heavy metals and chemicals from the steel smelting process. Second, the dust from storing and grinding cement is known to harm and even kill people, animals and plants. Third, the plan to ship slag and clinker halfway across the world requires dirty diesel-powered ships, both wasteful and polluting.
TOXINS — Slag cement contain toxins from the steel smelting process such as hexavalent chromium, the toxin that poisoned Hinckley, CA. Of further concern for Vallejo residents, the slag that would be shipped to Vallejo would not go through any screening process, so it could contain any number of harmful heavy metals and chemicals, potentially even radioactive waste. Orcem plans to ship from China, which is notoriously lax in its industrial processes, and Japan, which has been found guilty of improperly disposing of Fukushima radioactive waste. Who is to say what would arrive in Vallejo?
HARMFUL DUST — The dust from storing slag and Portland clinker, and from the cement grinding process is harmful to humans, animal and plant life.
DIESEL POLLUTION — Shipping slag and Portland clinker halfway around the world to grind it here is not green. The diesel fuel used for ocean-going vessels coming in and trucks going out is dirty…
It should be noted that Orcem plans to mill Portland cement in addition to slag cement – a fact which they try to evade by saying they would only do so based on “market conditions.” Given that Stockton has a slag cement plant farther along in the process, chances are the local cement market is competitive. So, for all their claims to be interested in “green” cement, Orcem also wants to produce the dirty Portland cement it is supposed to replace. chances are the local cement market will be highly competitive. For all their claims to only manufacture “green” cement, Orcem can also produce standard Portland cement. Orcem’s cement is a wolf in green clothing. It’s not green.Please share !