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Volume 32, June 2000

Table of Contents

Dirty Transfer Symptom of Navy, Cal-EPA Failures
FISC/Annex Cleanup Five Years Behind 1993 Schedule

The City of Alameda, Cal-EPA, and the US Navy celebrated their collective failure to cleanup toxic waste contamination at the US Navy's Fleet Industrial Supply Center/Alameda Annex (FISC/Annex) on June 20, 2000. A "dirty transfer" of the FISC/Annex ensures that environmental racism by the City of Alameda, Cal-EPA, US EPA and the US Navy is not something of the past, but a real and current problem in the West End of Alameda. So much priority has been placed on development, that public health and environmental protection regulations are being ignored.

The "dirty transfer" of the FISC/Annex recognizes all cleanup actions were not implemented by 1995, as required by a 1993 agreement between the Navy and Cal-EPA. In a rare press release, Cal-EPA provides reassuring statements that they will continue to oversee the cleanup of the FISC/Annex after the dirty transfer. However, given the results of Cal-EPA oversight to date, the press release did little to assure West End residents that Cal-EPA was "on the job."

Cal-EPA and US EPA have become agencies with a primary goal of facilitating the development of contaminated properties such as Alameda Point and the FISC/Annex. If the cost to protect public health and the environment impacts the profitability of the FISC/Annex development then Cal-EPA and US EPA have been willing to accept a lower standard of protection of human health and the environment that will satisfy a developer's need for a 25 percent return on investment.

The failure of the US Navy to comply with the law, and the failure of the US EPA and Cal-EPA to enforce the law in a fair manner, contributed to the contamination that is found at the FISC/Annex. Until environmental racism in the US Navy, Cal-EPA and US EPA is eliminated the contamination at the FISC/Annex will disproportionately impact residents and school children of a low-income and minority community. The "dirty transfer" indicates that US Navy, Cal-EPA, and the US EPA have lost another opportunity to address FISC/Annex pollution that resulted from a legacy of environmental racism at these agencies.

Catellus Project EIR Approved by Council
City, Catellus to Share Profits not Risks

Financial details of the Catellus and City of Alameda development agreement came to light on the eve of the EIR vote. The details are rather transparent to someone familiar with the precedent setting case, Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp v. Catellus Development.

The Kaiser vs. Catellus precedent involves a City of Richmond development in which contamination was discovered. The City of Richmond completed the cleanup and then sued Catellus, a previous land owner, for cleanup costs. Catellus counter-sued the City of Richmond's contractor arguing the contractor exacerbated the cleanup costs by spreading the contamination.

The Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled in Catellus favor. The courts ruled that a contractor grading a contaminated property could be considered an owner/operator, and a waste transporter. Under federal law, the City's contractor was therefore liable for a portion of the cleanup costs that should have been paid by Catellus.

For the Catellus Development at East Housing the City of Alameda will assume responsibility for all soil grading to prepare lots for housing The City of Alameda in taking responsibility for grading and utility installation is taking all the risk for future cleanup liability. By moving soil contaminated by the Navy, the City incurs liability for cleanup costs. The City is taking all the risk and sharing the profits with Catellus.

Poor management by City Hall of environmental liabilities at Alameda Point will eventually bankrupt the City.

Quotes of the Month

"There have been no Navy sources identified at IR02 for PAHs."

A recent Supplemental Remedial Investigation Report indicates that PAH contamination at IR02 cannot be attributed to the US Navy because the US Navy did not handle materials that contained PAHs at the site. To the contrary a majority of the Defense Reutilization Marketing Offices around the country, such as the one operated at IR02 by the US Navy, contain PAH contamination. This is because of the materials handled, spilled and/or disposed of at these facilities. The Navy sources for PAHs at IR02 are unlimited and included scrap metal (including former engines), heavy equipment, waste oil, drums, and waste solvents.

US Navy establishs Internet Site for Alameda Point
Lack of Site Content Reflects Lack of Cleanup Activities

A Navy internet site for public information on the Alameda Point Superfund Site was launched in June 2000. You'll find the Navy's worthless site here.

Question Authority - "How is that fair?"

The City says that Navy contamination is altering the community reuse plan you have to ask how. The area with the most significant contamination is the proposed site of a school and a public housing project. These uses were proposed after the contamination was discovered. It is time for reasonable people to ask the City of Alameda, Navy , US EPA and Cal-EPA why children and the poor must bear a disparate burden from Navy pollution. Ask Them. How is that fair?

The Environmental Justice Progress Report is the newsletter of West End Concerned Citizens (WECC). WECC has been monitoring the toxic cleanup planning process at the Alameda Point Naval Air Station (NAS) since 1995. Our community members have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of response to the public's concerns, the inadequate information provided to the public, and the lack of opportunities for the public to participate in the decision making process.

To receive a free copy of the this monthly report of for more information, please contact us at ejpp@toxicspot.com.

April 2000 Edition
June 30, 2000