The following letter was posted by Don Gosney, Chair of the Point Molate
Restoration Advisory Committee in response to the Berkeley daily Planet
story on Point Molate (Point
Molate According to the Daily Planet, June 9, 2008).
City’s web page for Point Molate can be found at
http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.asp?NID=270 and has been updated
to include the following information and documents regarding the
Feasibility of Suitability for Early Transfer (FOSET).
24, 2008, the Richmond City Council held a study session that provided
an overview of the recently completed Navy-produced Feasibility of
Suitability for Early Transfer (FOSET)
of the remaining 41 acres. Public comments on this document are due to
the Navy by July 10, 2008. Comments can be e-mailed to
Council also reviewed the draft Navy/City negotiated Early Transfer
Cooperative Agreement (ETCA)
that it will be asked to consider for approval at the end of July. The
ETCA is the agreement that transfers environmental obligations on the
entire site to the City and obligates the Navy to pay $28.5 million to
the City to complete the remediation work.
copy of the Study Session Power Point presentation
From the Berkeley Daily Planet:
Point Molate: A Rebuttal
By Don Gosney
Thursday June 26, 2008
We are truly blessed to have in our community a
reporter of the magnitude of Richard Brenneman who brings to the table
his finely honed investigative and writing skills along with his many
years of experience as a reporter.
Considering the bona fides of Mr. Brenneman, I’m surprised and
disappointed in his recent articles about the issuance of the Navy’s
historic Finding of Suitability for Early Transfer (FOSET) that sets in
motion the final stage in the environmental restoration of the former
Naval Fuel Depot Point Molate on the western shores of Richmond.
Mr. Brenneman attended a recent meeting of the Point Molate Restoration
Advisory Board (RAB) where the FOSET was introduced to the community.
This document was the culmination of the hard work of a great many
members of our community over the past 14 years to ensure that Point
Molate is properly cleaned before being returned to our community. Mr.
Brenneman, though, chose pretty much to ignore this monumental work and
focus on one part of the possible development of the site.
The 21 community members of the RAB have worked for nearly 14 years to
stand firm against a Navy that wanted to just walk away from Point
Molate claiming that “it looked pretty clean” to them.
Collectively, the RAB has served more than 325 years advising the Navy
on how they can best serve our community. They’ve poured over more than
40,000 pages of technical documents and written hundreds of pages of
commentary for the official record. As their only elected community
co-chair, I’ve even testified before a Congressional Round Table on base
closures giving testimony on how the system works and does not work for
The Point Molate RAB includes experts in the petrochemical industry,
several experts with the EPA, experts on environmental justice, experts
on native plants and wildlife, scientists with extensive backgrounds in
environmental cleanup and an army of community activists. The Point
Molate RAB has been praised across the country as being the model of how
effective a RAB can be and we’ve even been recognized publicly by the
Undersecretary of the Navy.
With the strong bona fides of the Point Molate RAB, Mr. Brenneman chose
not to interview anyone that actually was involved in the process but
elected to go to a mayor that has steadfastly refused every offer to
educate her about what we’ve been doing. He chose to go to a member of
the Zeneca CAG so she could pass judgment against what we’ve done—in
spite of the fact that she’s never been to a single one of our nearly
100 public meetings where everyone has a seat and a voice at the table.
He chose to go to environmental activists from other communities who
want to come into Richmond and tell us what we can or cannot
do—activists who have gotten into bed with Chevron because, as one of
them wrote, “the ends justify the means.”
The terms of this FOSET open the door for Richmond to finally take full
ownership of Richmond’s “Jewel by the Bay” and allow the development of
Mr. Brenneman wrote of some of the objections to this development even
though the draft EIR has not yet been issued offering up any of the
details of the proposed development, any possible problems associated
with it or the developer’s proposed solutions.
The proposed development of Point Molate offers up an economic engine
that could generate nearly 17,000 jobs for our community and bring
hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue into our financially
depressed region. I would hope that reporters like Mr. Brenneman might
wait until after the draft EIR is issued before trashing the project too
What Mr. Brenneman also failed to write about were the realistic
alternatives to the proposed development. When I lay my head down at
night I dream of having Bill Gates’ money, Brad Pitt’s looks and even
Brad Pitt’s wife. When I awake in the morning, though, I’m still in the
real world and I have to live with those realities. Whether it’s the
mayor, the dog walkers or even the activists from other cities, before
they decide what we can’t do with Point Molate, I suggest they perform a
reality check of their own to learn what will probably happen if they
kill any development of Point Molate.
I would also hope that Mr. Brenneman might research the history of our
cleanup efforts and make an effort to help the public understand the
significance of this FOSET and how it affects our community.
Furthermore, I would hope that Mr. Brenneman might speak with people who
are intimately familiar with what’s actually been happening at Point
Molate instead of relying on “the usual suspects” who like to talk big
and sound good to people who don’t know enough to question what made
them such experts on the subject.
Don Gosney is community co-chair of the Point Molate Restoration