City Council voted 4:3 to punt the decision. Sadly, this is going to waste our tax dollars and staff time on trying to gather even more data on this ill-conceived project.
Fresh Air Vallejo’s Attorney writes a strong letter to the City of Vallejo stating that the VMT/Orcem appeal that was filed after the Planning Commission hearing in March is legally and factually wrong.
So, do we all still have to come to the May 30 & June 1 meetings? Yes.
Do we all still have to speak at those meetings and repeat what we said at the Planning Commission meeting? Yes.
We need to add our might behind our City Council so they feel supported to make the right decision and protect the people of Vallejo.
Below is a PDF of the letter.
Asthma. Cancer. Heart Disease. All caused by pollution. Vallejo is fighting the proposed cement plant and private port at the Sperry Mill site in a neighborhood already classified as a SB535 Disadvantaged Community. Zip code 94590 has shockingly high rates of air and ground water pollution. Let’s revitalize our Vallejo with real, healthy job growth that benefits everyone.
NBC has an in-depth look at how the Hunter’s Bayview neighborhood is under a pollution attack.
Please share !
On May 10, 2017, the powerful San Francisco-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union 10 announced its strong opposition to the proposed Orcem Cement Factory and Vallejo Marine Terminal.
The project was rejected by the Vallejo Planning Commission on March 6, 2017. The full Vallejo City Council is expected to vote on the plan at the pair of meetings, May 30 & June 1—starting early afternoon.
The President of ILWU Local 10, Edwin Ferris, was joined by other union members and people from the community, including representatives from Migrante Napa Solano, Supervisor for District 2, Monica Brown, and Peter Brooks, president Fresh Air Vallejo, at the briefing.
Both Ferris and Brooks released statements ahead of Wednesday’s press conference.
“ILWU Local 10 supports the citizens of Vallejo in their opposition to the proposed Vallejo Marine Terminal project. It would be quite irresponsible to support this proposed project at the expense of the health of the environment and the local community,” said Ferris.
“Shiploads of industrial waste from Asia and Mexico for the proposed Orcem cement factory and Vallejo Marine Terminal should never be unloaded on Vallejo’s waterfront so close to homes and a school. We are grateful the ILWU sees that the job numbers Orcem and VMT have tried to claim are grossly inflated for a project whose harm to Vallejo outweighs any possible benefit,” said Brooks.
The Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club (Solano and Napa groups), Fresh Air Vallejo and other community groups all oppose the project, noting that it is an “environmental nightmare,” and would pose significant environmental problems and health dangers to nearby homes and school.
POSTED: The Associated Students of the California Maritime Academy and its undersigned affiliates (ASCMA) oppose the Orcem/VMT project proposal. The conversion of the historic Sperry Mill site to a proposed cement mill and shipping terminal would have a detrimental effect on the surrounding community and the City of Vallejo that would not be rectified by the minimal economic benefits the project claims to bring to its citizens.
The students of California State University Maritime Academy (CSUMA) support projects that bring prosperity and opportunities for development to the City of Vallejo. However, after weighing the negative effects that the Orcem/VMT project would bring to the health, environment, and culture of the Vallejo community, it has become clear to ASCMA that this project would bring the city neither long-awaited prosperity nor increased job opportunities.
A large percentage of CSUMA students live on campus or in the neighborhoods of Vallejo. Consequently, it is in ASCMA’s best interest to ensure that Vallejo strives to continually improve itself as a community of both prosperity and growth. Vallejo has great potential to transform itself into a welcoming beacon superior to other neighboring Bay Area cities. The Orcem/VMT project, however, would hinder that growth and redefine it as a solely industrial city rather than promote the advancement of its vibrant community and the quality of life of its citizens.
CSUMA lies 1.3 miles from the proposed cement mill site, a short distance that raises grave concerns among the students regarding their health and well-being. Dust from the stockpiles of raw industrial material would be consistently blown in the direction of the CSUMA campus as it is located downwind from the proposed plant, impacting anyone working or studying on campus on a daily basis. Furthermore, the noise pollution from heavy truck traffic on Sonoma Boulevard that would be created by this project would severely diminish both our campus and the surrounding community. Sonoma Boulevard passes directly by the entrance to the CSUMA campus as well as through neighborhoods where off-campus students live. The injuriousness of the noise generated by this traffic would impair students’ overall ability to study, concentrate, and succeed as university students. In addition, the NOx pollution from potential truck, train, and ship traffic is of great concern for those students who live and study on campus as well as in neighboring areas.
ASCMA applauds the student organizations at Touro University who have already decried this project and aptly pointed out the egregious health issues that would ensue from the polluted environment that the Orcem/VMT project would create. To add to the wealth of scientific data on the deleterious effects of cement dust and diesel emissions already provided by so many opponents of the project, ASCMA also wishes to emphasize that the students of CSUMA have undertaken their own research on the issue, with the support of faculty from the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Sciences and Mathematics, and Culture and Communication, who scrutinized countless documents and written studies, from both a scientific and a medical standpoint. The coalition has found, among other things, that experts from Spain, Turkey and Germany all seem to be in agreement that “green” cement, even though it consumes another industry’s waste products, can’t necessarily be defined as non-polluting.
Indeed, it is highly likely that the same risks inherent in OPC (Ordinary Portland Cement) apply to “green” cement as well. Although from a chemical point of view, cement components are not intrinsically risky, cement dust, CO2 release, and related chemicals needed for its production are dangerous, making the risks in OPC and GGBFS (Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag) almost identical. Although more research is needed into this relatively new product, it must be emphasized that the current lack of substantive evidence that can back the safety of the product — as Touro University students aptly pointed out — is far too questionable to invite whole-hearted approval. Vallejo does not need to become Orcem/VMT’s latest experiment for new chemicals that will predictably be deemed toxic years down the road.
CSUMA students have a great respect for the health of the waterways, and the potential harm this project could bring is very alarming. After carefully reviewing the DEIR, ASCMA stands behind both the Sierra Club and San Francisco Baykeeper in strongly opposing this project, given their keen and focused interest in protecting the waterways of the Bay Area. As dedicated stewards of the very ground on which this institution of higher education stands, ASCMA firmly believes that it is the students’ duty as future leaders to speak out against any project that can potentially damage, deteriorate, and depreciate the local environment — an environment that ASCMA is committed to protect, not only for the students but for the animals and plants that co-exist on campus and inhabit the coastal waters. As students who are also deeply invested in the welfare and societal needs of the greater city in which the students live, work and study — through the mutually beneficial community partnerships that have been developed over the years with many agencies — it is saddening to see that the Orcem/VMT project promoters have failed to recognize the irreparable harm they are bringing to the most vulnerable assets in the community.
Grace Patterson Elementary School, where Cal Maritime students have volunteered for years through CSUMA community service-learning programs, is less than a quarter of a mile from the proposed plant’s property line, yet the fact that this proximity represents a “first” for Orcem—in no other country where it already has established working plants have these been situated in residential neighborhoods with schools—has neither been adequately nor equitably addressed by the proponents. The immorality of this decision lies in direct contrast to the struggle for social justice that the students believe in upholding, and goes against the nation’s continued efforts to challenge environmental injustice when it invades our local communities, such as south Vallejo, the site of the Sperry Mill, which has been victimized by social inequality for so long. True to CSUMA’s academic core values, ASCMA believes in a diverse living and learning community that embraces everyone, and continually strives to develop a solid code of ethics, both on a personal and a professional level. For this reason, ASCMA finds it highly disturbing that the proponents of the Orcem/VMT project have not adhered to some of the most basic principles of decency.
ASCMA applauds the Vallejo Planning Commission’s rejection of the Orcem/VMT project and encourages the Commission to remain steadfast in opposition throughout the appeal. By the same token, ASCMA also believes that the Vallejo City Council members who served on the MISEDC must recuse themselves from deliberating on the project when the issue comes before them. It is ASCMA’s firm belief that this project is not only woefully inappropriate for the City of Vallejo from an economical and financial point of view, but that it carries with it a series of distinct health-related dangers that will inevitably loom large over the future vitality of this town.
These health challenges will not only affect the physical and mental well-being of Vallejo’s children and citizens at large, but will adversely impact anyone who is considering moving here to work, to study or to live. As students who are part of the California State University system, ASCMA decries Orcem/VMT’s ongoing attempts to have CSUMA’s beautiful campus be situated so close to an industrial cement mill. Furthermore, prospective students would have serious reservations about attending a university that could potentially damage their health and quality of life over a period of four or more years. If this project is approved, it would greatly threaten the very existence and prosperity of this institution. The Associated Students of the California Maritime Academy and its undersigned affiliates call on the Vallejo City Council to reject the Orcem/VMT proposal.
— The Associated Students of the California Maritime Academy (ASCMA), The Cal Maritime Sustainability Club, The Cal Maritime Community Cat ClubPlease share !
The volunteers of Fresh Air Vallejo are grateful to the Sierra Club for their ongoing support. Here is a recent article that outlines the situation nicely.
VALLEJO PLANNING COMMISSION VOTES 6:1 TO DENY VMT/ORCEM
Thank you to the Commissioners who had the intelligence, imagination and heart to turn down a dirty project to make way for true economic development on this little City by the Bay. Read more.
- Landis Graden, Chair
- Marvin Kinney, Vice Chair
- Roberto Cortez
- Diosdado “J.R.” Matulac
- Jim Scoggin
- Robert Schussel
BUT IT IS NOT OVER—THIS MAY GO TO CITY COUNCIL!
On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, the Vallejo School Board voted to support the City Staff’s recommendation to deny the VMT/Orcem project. Thank you for saying no to heavy industry in residential neighborhoods. Thank you for saying no to trains and trucks directly past so many schools routes. Thank you for putting the children first!
Please share !
TEXT FROM THE LETTER FROM MIGRANTE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA INITIALLY DELIVERED AT FEBRUARY 19 SOUTH VALLEJO TOWN HALL
Vallejo, CA (Mar. 2017) – Migrante Northern California stands in solidarity with the immigrant community in Vallejo, native residents, and local environmental groups against the threat of environmental degradation and major community disruption brought about by the proposal to build and operate a cement factory in the locality by Orcem Company and Vallejo Marine Terminal.
While Orcem professes to implement a “green” cement factory, similar factories have had detected toxic chemicals in the ingredients to be used in their process of making such a “green” cement. This points to the danger of this factory when it is placed near a crowded population. The major ingredient, slag, is an industrial waste in steel-making where its composition can vary, and the potential to have hazardous components in it unchecked is high.
The location of the factory would be nearby residential neighborhoods in South Vallejo, where incidentally poverty rates are high and an elementary school is located. Massive air pollution coming from ships, trains, trucks, and the cement facility will present significant environmental impact where Vallejo asthma rates already stands at double the California rate. The noise and heavy traffic that would come out of the daily operations and transportation will also significantly disrupt residential neighborhood activities. In addition, the maintenance of city roads will cost the city significant amount of money, considering that about 300 trucks will traverse daily. The projected income to the city by the operation of the factory would not even be enough to offset road maintenance costs.
The community of Vallejo has been active in setting the direction for future development of Vallejo through the General Plan updates, with the city’s waterfront to remain environmentally safe and conducive to public use. Should there be industrial, light industrial, or maritime activities, they must always be within the bounds of environmental safety. The Orcem factory proposal runs counter to these.
Vallejo is home to about 25,000 Filipinos, while the nearby American Canyon has Filipinos as the fastest growing population in the city. Moreover, Latinos comprise a significant minority in the city, especially in the affected area of South Vallejo. We stand together with our Latino sisters and brothers, as well as all affected, in fighting against harm and destruction on their families and surrounding areas.
The cement factory proposal stands to harm the community more than it will benefit from it.
Migrante Northern California is inspired by the indigenous Lumad and other poor communities in the Philippines fighting against the destruction of their land and environment from big corporations such as mining firms who are only bent to extract profits at the expense of the people. It is with the same spirit that Migrante Northern California fights together with many peoples, especially the poor and marginalized, to preserve their places against environmental degradation.
PROTECT OUR FAMILIES AND OUR CHILDREN!
PROTECT IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN VALLEJO!
STAND UP AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION!
SAY NO TO ORCEM & VMT!
Please share !