Friday, January 30, 2009

First-hand account of Petaluma City Council meeting re Dutra Asphalt Plant

From P4C member Sarah Gibson, after attending the City Council meeting on Mon., Jan. 26th, a meeting which lasted until 11:30pm due to discussion of this issue:
The City Council hearing on the proposed Dutra Asphalt Plant centered its attention on a letter currently being authored by our City Council members to the Board of Supervisors. Signed by every member of our Council, Mayor Pam Torliatt and our representatives wanted to hear from Petaluma citizens on what to include in the letter they will present to the Board. Chemistry professors, biologists, high school and elementary school teachers, senior citizens, the Petaluma Mother's Club, the Petaluma Rowing Club, the Audubon Group were just a few of the many groups who are against the proposed plant. Listening to the chemist and biologist explain in plain English just how grossly carcinogenic and toxic the bi-products of the proposed Dutra plant are is enough to make you hold your breath in disbelief.

As if anything could be more terrifying than scientific testimony ... Joe Carnucci of San Rafael, who has been fighting Dutra since 1986 on environmental, air, and noise violations, listed legal case after legal case in which Dutra was found in violation of code. The most disturbing part of Carnucci's 9-minute presentation was the fact that, in spite of a 2005 ruling by the Attorney General in favor of a lawsuit presented against Dutra by Carnucci, the plant still operates 24/7 pending another EIR to be released next week. Even though the 2005 suits were also filed in conjunction with the State of California, Dutra has yet to pay fines, upgrade equipment, or cease operations.

The good news? Mayor Torliatt and Council Members have pledged to put "more teeth" into the letter. Mayor Torliatt has also made it known that she will personally stand with us on Feb. 3rd at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors hearing. She has also met with two of the five Board Members already. We have a City Council standing with us.

For those of us considering that an enclosed plant will meet our standards - consider Dutra's track record above on broken promises. Then also consider these three stunning facts:
  1. There are only two fully enclosed plants in the world. Neither are in the U.S.
  2. Dutra wants to use 20,000 gallons of river water from the River to mitigate dust. As it turns out, the river water will not meet the needs and therefore Dutra will use plan B: Your drinking water.
  3. The chemicals/gases, known carcinogens, that will be released into the air from the recycling part of the facility are some of THE MOST carcinogenic industrial fumes.
Check out the meeting on our local cable channel. You won't want to miss the many wonderful people who presented stunning documentation and testimony to preserve the river, Shollenberger Park, and our health.
Additional suggested reading by Sarah:
Dutra dredging fined $735,000, Marin Independent Journal, 8.17.06

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