|Letters From West
County Times Readers - County Needs Good Neighbor Ordinance
October 30, 1996
WEST COUNTY TIMES
Wednesday, October 30, 1996
I am proud of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors for proceeding in the face of relentless industry pressure to craft the much-needed Good Neighbor Ordinance.
This critical legislation will compel dangerous refineries and chemical plants to institute reasonable and prudent measures to improve safety and protect surrounding communities.
In the race to cut jobs and raise profits, these industries have let safety considerations slip to a low priority. The terrible accidents to which the residents of Richmond, Rodeo, Hercules and Martinez have been subjected in the last five years are symptomatic of this new trend.
When industry no longer has the motivation to regulate itself, it is incumbent on our public agencies to assume this responsibility.
Such regulation is often mis-characterized as extreme environmentalism and potentially damaging to our local economy. Industrial safety and a clean environment are good business. We should be reminded that the reformulated fuels projects at our local refineries were entirely environmentally motivated and would have never been initiated by the oil companies themselves.
Not only did these projects result in cleaner air; the construction created more jobs and put more money into the Contra Costa economy than any undertaking since World War II.
In Richmond, we will be losing a high-tech employer of hundreds, Pixar, because Steve Jobs has stated he does not want to build a permanent home for his company next to a refinery. In Rodeo, taxpayers will be bearing the cost of moving a school away from a refinery. These kind of hits on the public pocketbook are neither far nor justified. I hope the supervisors hang tough and see this one through.
Thomas K. Butt, FAIA
Richmond City Councilman