Sierra Club: Vallejo Planning Commission Rejects Proposed Cement Plant

Shown in picture, Joe Feller, Victoria Brandon, Bill Dyer (Thank you for caring and taking action!)

Vallejo Planning Commission Rejects Proposed Cement Plant

By Joe Feller, Solano Group Chair, and Victoria Brandon, Redwood Chapter Chair

On March 6 the Vallejo Planning Commission voted 6 – 1 to reject the deep-water port and cement factory known as the Orcem/VMT project. Orcem, an Irish company behind the cement plant proposal, has a history of being anti-union and not attuned to environmental protection standards. Vallejo Marine Terminal is a newly-formed company that is proposing the port. City staff previously stated its opposition to the project, on the grounds that it doesn’t meet the city’s waterfront development plan along with many other objections.

The Solano and Napa Groups, the Redwood Chapter and the Sierra Club national staff have all declared their opposition to this project, for reasons ranging from its devastating impacts to a disadvantaged residential neighborhood, impairment of air quality throughout the North Bay, harm to the Napa River and San Francisco Bay and the potential for the port to become a coal-exporting facility.

Joe Feller, Solano Group Chair and longtime Vallejo resident, said the proposal is an “environmental nightmare” that would bring increased air pollution, noise and truck traffic through a low-income neighborhood in South Vallejo.

Sierra Club has been working alongside Fresh Air Vallejo, a non-profit group, to spread information to Vallejo residents, especially those who live in the potentially affected area.

The groups held a press conference Feb. 22 outside Vallejo City Hall in a move to draw more attention to the project and encourage people to attend a special Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 27, which attracted more than 100 speakers and went until almost 1 a.m.

Peter Brooks of Fresh Air Vallejo stated; “We realize that Vallejo has to be a good neighbor.  Stopping a cement factory from going onto our waterfront sends a positive signal to Vallejo and the whole Bay Area.  The Sierra Club’s support was instrumental in our victory and we thank you.”

Vallejo Marine Terminal and Orcem have officially appealed to the Vallejo City Council to overturn city staff’s recommendation and the Planning Commission vote.  A   hearing before the City Council may be scheduled, possibly in late April to early May.  Visit the Fresh Air Vallejo website for further information.