Tom Butt for Richmond City Council The Tom Butt E-Forum About Tom Butt Platform Endorsements of Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt Accomplishments Contribute to Tom Butt for Richmond City Council Contact Tom Butt Tom Butt Archives
E-Mail Forum
More Stories Of Government Supporting Its Elected Officials
April 4, 2002
The Final EIS/EIR for the Navy Fuel Depot Point Molate has some highly significant findings related to the Risk Management Plans showing the Worst Case Scenario and Alternate Release Scenario endpoints for releases of ammonia, flammables and oleum. This data was used by the Navy to essentially justify their contention that the location is to unsafe for anyone to live there. The period for written comment ended March 24, 2002.

Because I wanted to further study the implications of the Risk Management Plans showing the Worst Case Scenario and Alternate Release Scenario endpoints for releases of ammonia, flammables and oleum, I requested the City of Richmond to provide me with copies of the maps. I was told that the City would not give me copies of the maps but that perhaps I could obtain them from Contra Costa County. I was also told by the City that it was illegal for me to obtain the maps, and I was sent a copy of Federal legislation allegedly backing up that assertion.

I read the legislation and determined that instead of making it illegal for City officials to have the information, it explicitly provided that City officials were entitled to the information. Subsequently, Contra Costa County officials agreed, but asked me to write a letter of request, which I did. They said to state that the information would be used for “official use” and to detail what the use would be.

I still don’t know whether or not the City has the maps, and apparently no one in the City knows either. So I concentrated on the County, who at least acknowledged they had the maps.

I wrote the following to the County:

“I need these maps to conduct official business of the City of Richmond in my capacity as a City Council member and vice-mayor, specifically to evaluate and consider a number of ongoing or anticipated City of Richmond actions involving regulatory and planning matters at the Chevron and General Chemical facilities as well as the former Naval Fuel Depot at Point Molate.”

I received a letter from the County denying the request because I did not state that I planned to “use the requested information for an “official use” as defined in 40 CFR, Section 1400.2(h). Now, Section 1400.2(h) reads:

“Official use means an action of a federal, sate, or local government agency or an entity described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section intended to carry out a function relevant to preventing, planning for, or responding to accidental releases.”

It has taken me one month to get to this point. The time to respond to the EIS/EIR passed 11 days ago. I have telephoned all the County contacts who wrote or were cc’d copies of the letter, but no one seems to be around or has returned my calls.

This is your City of Richmond and Contra Costa County government at your service, making every effort to provide information needed by your vice-mayor to do his job.