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!