Tar Sands Free SF Bay – Town Hall meeting Thurs Mar 7 2019, Rodeo Hills Elementary
Feb 27, 2019
This coming Thursday, refinery corridor residents and allies are presenting a community forum on Phillips 66’s very dangerous plans to expand tar sands refining at its Rodeo facility.
Increased use of tar sands in the P66 crude slate means vastly increased tanker traffic in the Bay, an increased risk of spills, and increased assaults on community health and our worsening climate. This town hall is an opportunity to learn about the two linked P66 proposals—the first Environmental Impact Report drops soon—and what we can do to stop them.
Please come out to listen, learn, and offer support to impacted community residents.
Food and beverage provided!
Andres Soto, Communities for a Better Environment
Pennie Opal Plant [and or Alison Ehara Brown], Idle No More SF Bay
LaDonna Williams, All Positives Possible and Fresh Air Vallejo
Janice Kirsch, MD, 350 Bay Area
Janet Pygeorge, President, Rodeo Citizens Association
Greg Karris, Senior Scientist, Communities for a Better Environment
Rodeo Citizens Association, Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment, Fresh Air Vallejo, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Bay Area, Idle No More SF Bay, Communities for a Better Environment, and Stand.earth.
The students striking from schools around the world to demand action on climate change have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not.”
The letter, published by the Guardian, says: “United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. [But] the youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.”
The Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast growing number of strikes is difficult, but many are registering on FridaysForFuture.org. So far, there are almost 500 events listed to take place on 15 March across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far. Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, from the US to Brazil and Chile, and from Australia to Iran, India and Japan.
“For people under 18 in most countries, the only democratic right we have is to demonstrate. We don’t have representation,” said Jonas Kampus, a 17 year old student activist, from near Zurich, Switzerland. “To study for a future that will not exist, that does not make sense.”
The letter says: “We are the voiceless future of humanity … We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes.” Kampus helped initiate the letter, which was created collectively via a global coordination group numbering about 150 students, including the first youth climate striker, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg.
The strikes have attracted some criticism and Kampus said: “We wanted to define for ourselves why we are striking.” Another member of the coordination group, Anna Taylor, 17, from north London, UK, said: “The importance of the letter is it shows this is now an international movement.
Taylor said: “The rapid growth of the movement is showing how important it is and how much young people care. It is vital for our future.” Janine O’Keefe, from FridaysForFuture.org, said: “I’ll be very happy with over 100,000 students striking on 15 March. But I think we might reach even beyond 500,000 students.”
Thunberg, now 16 years old and who began the strikes with a solo protest beginning last August, is currently on holiday from school. She was one of about 3,000 student demonstrators in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, and joined protesters in Hamburg on Friday morning.
The strikes have been supported by Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief when the Paris deal to fight global warming was signed in 2015. She said: “It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but it’s timely implementation is key.” Michael Liebreich, a clean energy expert, said: “Anyone who thinks [the strikes] will fizzle out any time soon has forgotten what it is to be young.”
The strikes would not end, Taylor said, until “environmental protection is put as politicians’ top priority, over everything else. Young people are cooperating now, but governments are not cooperating anywhere near as much as they should”. She said students were contacting her from new countries every day, including Estonia, Iceland and Uganda in recent days.
Kampus, who was invited to meet the Swiss environment minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, on Wednesday, said: “The strikes will stop when there is a clear outline from politicians on how to solve this crisis and a pathway to get there. I could be doing so many other things. But I don’t have time as we have to solve this crisis. My dream is to have a life in peace.”
City leaders to meet; council to get progress update March 12
By John Glidden, March 1, 2019 at 6:40 pm
A controversial plan to open a modern deep-water terminal and cement facility next to the Mare Island Strait in South Vallejo appears to be at a standstill, again.
Vallejo Marine Terminal (VMT) missed Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline to provide City Hall with required information needed to complete the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the VMT/Orcem California, LLC project proposed for development on the old General Mills plant site, Vallejo’s Assistant City Attorney Shannon Eckmeyer confirmed to the Times-Herald.
“We will not be releasing the project’s FEIR at this time,” Eckmeyer said by phone.
She further confirmed city staff would be meeting internally to determine the next steps. The Vallejo City Council will receive a progress report on the project’s status during the council’s March 12 meeting, Eckmeyer said.
Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan said he was disappointed in the lack of an official response from VMT.
“We can’t come to any kind of decision without their information,” he said by phone after the 5 p.m. deadline. “We’re in a difficult spot.”
Sampayan confirmed city leaders will be meeting next week to consider various legal issues with the lack of communication from VMT.
“We don’t want to incur any liability,” Sampayan explained.
Tired of waiting, Vallejo sent a notice on Monday that if VMT didn’t respond by 5 p.m., Friday, the city would deem VMT abandoned the project.
That letter requested multiple items including documentation showing William Gilmartin and Alan Varela have assumed all responsibilities of the business from the original VMT principal Blaise Fettig and former past project manager Matt Fettig.
Gilmartin was announced as VMT newest partner in November 2018, joining Varela, who has been a partner in VMT since 2016. Both men work for the Oakland-based ProVen, a general engineering contracting firm started by Varela.
The three-page letter also asked VMT to fund its portion of the Environmental Justice Analysis report, at about $22,778, and execute the fourth amendment to the reimbursement agreement required for consultants working on the FEIR to finish their work.
“For weeks, the city has requested that you either sign or produce an existing assignment and assumption agreement that identifies the real party in interest for purposes of processing the appeal and permits,” the city wrote. “As you might surmise, we wonder who is the applicant and real party in interest for purposes of indemnifying the city in the event the project’s decision results in a lawsuit against the city.”
One of the last official communications to the city from VMT came in January when VMT sent a single page letter stating that Varela, Gilmartin, and attorneys Krista Kim and Michael M.K. Sebree were authorized to speak for the business.
“VMT is concerned that there may be correspondence with VMT that we have not seen nor read and possibly future correspondence that we need to respond to,” Gilmartin wrote in the letter addressed to Vallejo City Manager Greg Nyhoff.
Attempts to reach Gilmartin, Varela, and Kim by press time on Friday were unsuccessful.
In a Feb. 12 email to VMT and Orcem representatives and their respective legal teams, Eckmeyer explained the city cannot separate the two businesses from the joint application and appeal.
“There still appears to be unclear communication between your clients, and the city has the obligation to treat the VMT/Orcem project as a joint application and joint appeal. We cannot separate the interests of Orcem and VMT and process separate requests,” she wrote. “As you are all aware, VMT is the landowner and Orcem is the tenant, and have up until this point, processed all entitlement requests items jointly.”
VMT has applied to open a modern deep-water terminal, while Orcem is seeking approval to operate a cement facility with both projects located on 31 acres at 790 and 800 Derr St.
The project has caused consternation with a segment of the Vallejo community, which argues the project will pollute the immediate area and harm local residents. Both VMT and Orcem deny those allegations, while also stating that the project will provide jobs and tax revenue for the city.
The Vallejo Planning Commission voted 6-1 in 2017 to reject the VMT/Orcem project, agreeing with City Hall that the project would have a negative effect on the neighborhood, that it would impact traffic around the area and the proposed project was inconsistent with the city’s waterfront development policy. The project also has a degrading visual appearance of the waterfront, City Hall said at the time.
City officials argued in 2017 that since a rejection was being recommended, a FEIR was not required.
Orcem and VMT appealed the Planning Commission decision, and in June 2017 when reviewing the appeal, a majority of the council directed City Hall to complete the impact report.
The project’s FEIR was expected to be released last year until leaders received a 13-page letter from Erin Ganahl, deputy attorney general for the State of California, writing that the project’s draft final environmental impact report (DFEIR), an Environmental Justice Analysis (EJA), and the Revised Air Analysis were misleading.
“The environmental documents for the project fail to provide adequate legal support for the city of Vallejo to approve the project,” Ganahl wrote on behalf of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “The DFEIR fails to adequately disclose, analyze, and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the project; the EJA improperly concludes that the project would not disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, and thus misleads decision makers and the public by minimizing the projects significant environmental justice concerns.”
Recommended by Benicia Independent for its progressive, environmentally sound perspective: