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Government Agencies Conspire to Steal Pollution Compensation from Richmond

Despite repeated objections from the City of Richmond, Congressman George Miller and state legislators representing Richmond, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is barreling ahead with plans to use most of the money from a settlement with Chevron over Richmond pollution to restore wetlands in Sonoma County.


For history, see:


·         Triad of Agencies Conspire to Deprive Richmond of Funds for Resource Restoration, July 21, 2007

·         Agencies Mine Richmond for Environmental Damage Money to Spend Elsewhere, October 26, 2007


Although it appears to be only part of a cover-up for stealing funding for Richmond’s own shoreline needs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold an “open house” to provide information and seek comments about the plan on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Point Richmond Community Center, 139 Washington Avenue, Richmond, CA.


The total amount of funding, which has not been disclosed, is proposed to be used to restore 1,500 acres of marsh at Cullinan Ranch in Sonoma County and only a token “up to 30 acres” in Richmond’s Breuner Marsh. The three agencies responsible for the project claim that the Cullinan Ranch project is “nearly ready for implementation” while the Breuner Marsh project is “still in the conceptual stage.”


In fact, the Castro Cove settlement was sought by the three agencies as a funding source for their own Cullinan Ranch project, and they have been loath to consider other projects in Richmond, although at least a half-dozen appropriate and deserving Richmond projects have been suggested.

We also believe that the Trustee agencies have an apparent conflict of interest in diverting the Castro Cove settlement funds from restoration of Richmond's shoreline to lands the USFWS owns and jointly administers with DFG as part of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Cullinan Ranch was purchased by the USFWS in 1992. See http://www.fws.gov/sfbayrefuges/San%20Pablo/San%20Pablo%20Gen.pdf for a map and info about the Refuge.

The learn more about the project, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ospr/spill/nrda/nrda_castro.html.


Written comments and requests for copies may be sent to: Carolyn Marn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825, or by fax: 916/414-6713, or via email to castrocove@noaa.gov.