|Forwarded from Councilmember Jim Rogers,
March 11, 2007
Tom, here's the article I mentioned. Thanks for sharing it with your list. Jim
Richmond has a long and sordid history of being the Rodney Dangerfield of California: we produce lots of things that the region and State need, but we don't get any respect or mitigation for the problems.
Low Income housing? Everyone agrees in theory it’s really needed to support the economic health of our businesses, but most cities don't take it seriously. Richmond has aggressively and successfully put up major City resources and produced more than its fair share. The thanks we get is being sneered at as being a city with a lot of poor people.
Drug rehab centers, alcohol detox centers, homeless shelters? You'd think some of the wealthy cities whose troubled people help populate these vital services might appreciate their property values being higher because they exclude these inconvenient truths from their literally or figuratively gated communities. Nope. More derision, jokes and code word dissing of Richmond.
Last, but certainly not least, Richmond has a huge amount of heavy industry, chemical refining in general, and Chevron in particular. Who gets the benefits of the fuel we need, and the good paying jobs? The overwhelming majority are people who don't live in Richmond. Richmond gets the low level pollution, the toxic clouds, and the lower property values, and, as usual, no respect.
The latest example of others not even being willing to throw Richmond Dangerfield a few measly cheap crumbs of respect is the draft EIR in the State Tidelands Commission proceeding denying that Chevron should have to mitigate its Long Wharf blocking the Bay Trail from connecting Pt. Richmond and Pt. Molate.
The State is negotiating a 30 year lease with Chevron for its Long Wharf using State tidelands. The logical place for the Pt. Richmond -Pt. Molate Bay Trail connection is on Ocean Ave. , however that option was foreclosed years ago when Richmond vacated the street due to the Long Wharf. (No good deed shall go unpunished.)
Now a veritable who's who of environmental, civic, trail advocate (TRAC), and bicycle advocates have weighed in with various reasons why Chevron could at least provide access for the Bay Trail (if not build it), as mitigation for the 30 year lease of extraordinarily valuable Tidelands property. But the best reason is the saddest: the recent tragedy where the lack of a proper Bay Trail left bicyclists routinely bicycling on the freeway shoulder to get from Pt. Richmond to Pt. Molate with the predictable result that there was a car accident leaving one person dead and one person critically injured.
We can argue about whose hands their blood is on, but we can't argue about the fact that other bicyclists are on the same freeway shoulder on this beautiful Sunday morning as I write this.
And we can't argue about the fact that , aside from the State Tidelands Commission lease negotiation, there is no other way this tragic danger is going to get fixed anytime soon, if ever.
In Tom Butt's E-forum, which follows, he provides more factual background, and how to contact the State Tidelands Commission.
Please do so.
If you have other ideas about how else we might remedy this proposed dangerous injustice, please contact me.
PS Please don't let anyone claim that being supportive of TRAC's efforts to create a safe Bay Trail connection is anti-Chevron. TRAC's wonderful, superhumanely prepared volunteer leader, Bruce Beyaert, is a retired high level Chevron employee. As a County Supervisor I wrote the County Good Neighbor ordinance that cracked down on irresponsible safety practices in oil refineries in County unincorporated areas. I refused a request to support a similar ordinance in Richmond aimed at Chevron, because I believed (and continue to believe) that Chevron is taking all reasonable safety precautions that it can. (BTW, Chevron thanked me by spending about $50,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to keep me from being elected to the Richmond Council.)
Chevron is doing their job of protecting their shareholders by resisting what they see as an unjustified expense. As residents who care about safety and the Bay Trail, we're doing our job remove this ugly , dangerous blemish from Richmond's 32 mile shoreline necklace "crown jewel". We'll see if the State Tidelands Commission is willing to do their job.
In perhaps the longest environmental review in history, the Finalizing Addendum to the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Chevron Richmond Long Wharf Marine Oil Terminal Lease Renewal Project was released after nine years on March 7, 2007. The Chevron Long Wharf is located on submerged lands held in trust for the people of California by the California State Lands Commission. See Chevron Long Wharf EIR and Point Molate Access, February 6, 2006. Click here to see the draft EIR. The Finalizing Addendum has not yet been posted on the State Lands Commission website.
California became a state on September 9, 1850, and thereby acquired nearly 4 million acres of land underlying the State's navigable and tidal waterways. Known as "Sovereign Lands", these lands included the beds of 1) more than 120 rivers, streams and sloughs; 2) nearly 40 non-tidal navigable lakes, such as Lake Tahoe and Clear Lake; 3) the tidal navigable bays and lagoons; and 4) the tide and submerged lands adjacent to the entire coast and offshore islands of the State from the mean high tide line to three nautical miles offshore. This watery domain, equal in size to Connecticut and Delaware combined, is managed by the California State Lands Commission. The State holds its "sovereign lands" in Public Trust. They can only be used for public purposes consistent with provisions of the Public Trust such as fishing, water dependent commerce and navigation, ecological preservation and scientific study.
Chevron built a wharf on state lands shortly after what is now its Richmond Refinery was established in 1902, but it was only in 1947 that the State entered into a lease with Chevron’s predecessor, Standard Oil of California, for the use of those lands. That lease expired in 1997, and in 1998, the State Lands Commission initiated the environmental review under CEQA for a 30-year renewal of that lease. The Long Wharf is being operated under a year-to-year lease that has now gone on for some nine years.
The most contentious issue in that environmental review has been access across the land side connection of the Long Wharf to accommodate the San Francisco Bay Trail for its extension to the Point San Pablo Peninsula. Despite a clear nexus between the existence of the Long Wharf and the obstruction of the long planned Bay Trail, the EIR continues to defend the narrowest possible conclusion that there is no relationship. At one time, Western Drive extended across the throat of the Long Wharf, providing direct access between Point Richmond and the Point San Pablo Peninsula. But the street was vacated some years ago to facilitate Chevron’s exclusive access to the Long Wharf.
The Finalizing Addendum states: “The Project’s area is defined as the area surrounding the berths comprising the existing Chevron Long Wharf facility…The facilities within this area are not an impediment to the proposed Bay Trail and the CSLC has no lease jurisdiction over either the shoreline or the upland, which supports the facilities through which the trail route is proposed.”
Persuasive arguments in favor of a mitigation that allows the Bay Trail to coexist with the Long Wharf have been prepared and filed by dozens of credible individuals and organizations, including the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee, East Bay Regional Park District, Trails for Richmond Action Committee, Bay Access, Inc., former Richmond Mayor Rosemary Corbin, former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond Council Member Tom Butt, East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Point Richmond Neighborhood Council, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, Senator Don Perata, Bicycle Trails Council in the East Bay, City of Richmond Planning Department and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. All of these arguments were rejected by the EIR preparer, Chambers Group, Inc., of Irvine, California, in favor of protecting Chevron.
The Bay Trail continuity in this area has become an even more critical issue because of the death and serious injury in 2006 of bicyclists using the current route that shares the roadway with Interstate 580 at the east end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. See Caltrans and Chevron Conspire to Perpetuate Death Trap, October 22, 2006 and Point Richmonder Dan Doellstedt critically injured in cycling accident.
The stridency and convolution of the logic used by Chambers Group, Inc, to reject the Bay Trail mitigation makes one believe that they are firmly in the pocket of Chevron or that they are channeling orders from someone to protect Chevron’s interests at all costs. However, being generous and accepting that they believe in their heart of hearts that they are right, and the interests of the people of California are being firmly protected, what do we do now?
I believe there are three ways to yet achieve a fair and appropriate outcome that will ultimately result in completion of the San Pablo Peninsula Bay Trail link.
'2802. Commission Criteria.
The Commission in determining pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 6702(b)(3) whether a lease, contract or other instrument is in the best interest of the State will consider whether the use, project or activity permitted by such instrument is:
Consistent with current Commission policies, practices and procedures
used for administering lands within its jurisdiction;
Note: Authority cited: Sections 6005, 6105, 6108, 6701, and 6702 Public Resources Code. Reference: Sections 6005, 6701, and 6702. Public Resources Code.
'2803. Approval Limitation.
Approval by the Commission of any lease, contract or other instrument
pursuant to this Article shall not constitute approval of any
modification or amendment of such instrument made pursuant to the
provisions of such instrument or otherwise. Separate approval shall be
required for such modifications or amendments.
What can you do? There are three voting members and two alternates on the California State Lands Commission. The voting members are John Garamendi, Lt. Governor, John Chiang, State Controller and Michael C. Genest, Director of Finance. You can contact these members and ask them to make sure the Bay Trail route is built in to the renewed Chevron Long Wharf lease.
Only John Garamendi has a published email address, and by clicking on “reply to all” you can send a message to him. You can Click here for an Email form to send a message to John Chiang. Contact information for all three members plus alternates is shown below:
John Garamendi, Lt. Governor
Southern California Office:
John Chiang, State Controller
(916) 322-4404 FAX
Michael C. Genest, Director of Finance
Department of Finance
I will also ask the Richmond City Council to contact the State lands Commissioners and ask them to make sure the Bay Trail route is built in to the renewed Chevron Long Wharf lease.