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Green Party of California

Cal-EPA agrees to lead clean-up of highly toxic, possibly lethal San Francisco Bay sites after pressure by Green city council member

For immediate release: Monday, May 16, 2005

Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Kevin McKeown, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-393-3639,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

RICHMOND (May 16, 2005) The clean-up of two highly toxic and possibly lethal shoreline sites on San Francisco Bay will now be supervised by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) after a newly-elected Green Party city councilmember in Richmond led a grassroots drive to force the state agency to take immediate action.

The sites are thought to be the source of many life-threatening cancers and other ailments to people in the area, according to doctors and local activists. Both sites are contaminated with dangerous compounds, ranging from mercury and heavy metals to pesticides, PCBs and other hazardous chemicals.

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA) announced late last week that it has agreed after demands by Richmond City Council member Gayle McLaughlin and area progressives to give DTSC chief oversight at the University of California, Berkeley's Richmond Field Station and adjacent Zeneca/Cherokee-Simeon Campus Bay .

"This is a wonderful victory for the many community groups and Richmond residents who mobilized to demand the proper agency oversight for cleanup of these extremely toxic sites. It is an incredible example of how a community rallying in its own interest can accomplish a better and healthier Richmond," said McLaughlin, who carried the unanimous resolution by the Richmond City Council calling on Cal-EPA to act more rigorously in correcting problems in the area.

Initially, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board had full jurisdiction over both sites. Community mobilization late last year resulted in a DTSC/Water Board split over jurisdiction over the Zeneca site with the Water Board retaining full jurisdiction of the UC Field Station.

However, McLaughlin and others called for a full change in the oversight of these adjoining contamination sites to DTSC because the Water Board did not have, they charged, the "expertise or experience" to handle the complex cleanup.

McLaughlin worked with Bay Area Residents for Responsible Development (BARRD), West County Toxics Coalition and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which helped elect McLaughlin to the Richmond City Council last November.


The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437