Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Independent environmental review of Shipyard project

The India Basin Neighborhood Association and Arc Ecology, working with the approval and funding of the USEPA Technical Assistance Grant program and the cooperation of the Navy, are conducting a completely independent "clean sheet" review of the Navy's proposed Record of Decision for Parcel E2.

A second of two public meetings will be held at 6:30 at the Bayview Opera House on August 8th. A light dinner will be served at both.

Arc Ecology's Saul Bloom explains why the meetings and review are important

by Saul Bloom, Executive Director, Arc Ecology

The E2 landfill is the most contaminated portion of the most contaminated property in San Francisco. The Hunters Point Shipyard is one of two Superfund sites in San Francisco and is by far the most contaminated. Superfund sites, divided into Parcels to make coordination of cleanup easier, are located on the Shipyard's southwestern shore across from Double Rock Parcel.

Most people became aware of the Shipyard as a Superfund site as a result of the Parcel E2 Landfill fire in 2000. The Navy has decided to do some hot spot removal from the site but to otherwise leave it intact under a cap it will construct to prevent the escape of pollution and the public's/ environment's exposure to it. The regulators have all agreed that this is the most sensible approach. However most residents of the Bayview Hunters Point community and other residents of D10 have told us they are very skeptical about the plan and want the landfill removed.

The Navy's decision about what to do with the Hunters Point Shipyard's Parcel E2 and its landfill/ dump will go final this fall. The legally binding contract between the regulators and Navy in effect codifying their agreement over the method and standards for a cleanup is called a Record of Decision (ROD). The public comment period on the draft of this agreement has been over for months.

Because of the extreme importance of this decision, Arc Ecology proposed and the EPA and the Navy have agreed to a completely independent peer review of their plan for E2. With funding from the EPA, Arc Ecology hired three scientists with no prior experience at the Shipyard (although each has had extensive experience with the types of issues the E2 ROD addresses). A toxicologist/ health risk assessor, a geologist/ landfill expert, and a radiation specialist/ health physicist will review the ROD and report back to the community whether or not the Navy's proposal is appropriate and is supported by the data they have on hand. To protect the independence of their review Arc Ecology has not discussed our own views on the landfill with them.

Tuesday's public meeting will introduce the review project, introduce our team of consultants, and to have them hear the extended community's opinions about what should be done with E2. The August 8th meeting will focus on reporting our consultants findings and how they line up with the community's input.

Footprints suggests: Contact Saul by email, or call 415.643.1190

See the Navy's faq's sheet about the Shipyard

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