Fresh Air Vallejo has received the San Francisco Baykeeper 2021 Blue Rivet Award for the nonprofit’s work in successfully organizing against the Vallejo Marine Terminal and Orcem Cement factory.
The Blue Rivet Award, presented at Baykeeper’s annual dinner on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at an annual gathering, held virtually this year, recognizes Bay Area community groups and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the health of San Francisco Bay. It recognizes Fresh Air Vallejo For Inspirational Stewardship of San Francisco Bay.
“The volunteer activism by residents through Fresh Air Vallejo is just the kind of on-the-ground partnership that we at Baykeeper value,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh. Executive Director of San Francisco Baykeeper. “Baykeeper is proud to have partnered with Fresh Air Vallejo to put a stop to the VMT facility, including stopping the possible shipment of toxic coal from the site. This was a major victory for residents of Vallejo and for San Francisco Bay!”
“Fresh Air Vallejo is very pleased to accept this award on behalf of a wide-ranging coalition that came together to defeat a toxic cement plant on our waterfront,” said Liat Meitzenheimer, President of Fresh Air Vallejo. “Though some of us have worked for the environment and Environmental Justice over many years, this is the first time Vallejo has been publicly recognized in the Bay Area for this work.
Vallejo citizens first heard of the cement factory proposal in 2015. The proposal was defeated in May of 2019. The proposed cement factory, and an adjacent deepwater marine terminal, would have brought tons of toxic material to South Vallejo to be ground into cement. Pollution, noise, traffic—and the injustice of placing the facility in a neighborhood already suffering from exceptionally high rates of asthma and cancer—were the cornerstones of Vallejo citizens’ opposition.
The Blue Rivet Award represents efforts by businesses and community members who join together on behalf of a healthy San Francisco Bay—just like the rivets of the Golden Gate Bridge, which join the structure together and hold it up. Past award recipients include community activists from No Coal in Oakland and former California Assembly Member and Senator Loni Hancock.
“Fresh Air Vallejo continues to work for Environmental Justice in Vallejo, and looks forward to working with our City for a development of this waterfront area that aligns with the vision and values of the community.”
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