9,700+ people submit comments opposing Bay Area dredging project

9,700+ people submit comments opposing Bay Area dredging project

Tuesday April 21, 2020

Community members speak out during public comment period against Army Corps of Engineers proposal, calling it a move by President Trump to expand fossil fuel industry

Traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — More than 6,000 people have submitted comments in opposition during a public comment period for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to dredge San Francisco Bay. 

The proposal, called the San Francisco to Stockton Navigation Improvement Project, would dredge a deeper channel through 13 miles of San Francisco Bay and the Carquinez Strait. Opponents criticize the project as a move by U.S. President Donald Trump and Big Oil to expand the fossil fuel industry in California — including increasing imports of Canadian tar sands crude oil. The proposal would provide a $57 million subsidy to Bay Area refineries. 

“The world needs to start phasing out fossil fuel production — and this plan encourages just the opposite. It gifts four Bay Area oil refineries with millions in subsidies, pumps up the production of petroleum products, multiplies the risk of oil spills in local waters, threatens marine life, and increases greenhouse gas emissions and toxic pollution,” said Isabella Zizi, Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth in an op-ed published in the Benicia Herald.

The comment period on the proposal’s final environmental impact statement was extended from April 6 to April 21 after more than 100 social justice and environmental groups called on the Army Corps to extend comment periods and postpone public hearings while the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, April 21, 9,762 people had submitted comments through an online form during the comment period. An additional 36,492 signatures were collected on earlier petitions calling on President Trumpand state and federal leaders to oppose the project, including Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. Mike Thompson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. 

According to the draft environmental impact statement, the dredging project would enable the transport of greater amounts of crude oil imports and refined product exports to and from several oil refineries and other industries in the Bay Area. The proposal coincides with plans by Bay Area refineries — including an expansion proposal at Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery — to process greater quantities of Canadian tar sands crude oil. Tar sands, also called diluted bitumen or dilbit, is an extremely toxic, non-floating crude oil that is extremely difficult to clean up in the event of a spill. 

Read more about the dredging proposal in this San Francisco Chronicle article from November 2019: San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change.

ABOUT STAND.EARTH AND THE PROTECT THE BAY COALITION

San Francisco-based environmental organization Stand.earth is a member of the Protect the Bay coalition, a group of local residents that aims to educate the Bay Area community about the expansion proposal at Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo. 

Coalition members include Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment (CRUDE), Idle No More SF BayInterfaith Council of Contra Costa CountyRodeo Citizens AssociationStand.earth, and Sunflower Alliance. Supporting organizations include 350 Bay AreaAmazon WatchCenter for Biological DiversityFriends of the Earth USFresh Air VallejoGreenaction for Health and Environmental JusticeSan Francisco Baykeeper350 Contra Costa County, and 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations.

Learn more about the Protect the Bay coalition at protectthebay.org

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Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager, media@stand.earth, 510-858-9902