Response to Aimi Dutra's "Asphalt Magic"
Dutra would have us believe that they can make an asphalt factory without any releases of toxins or noxious fumes and dusts. Ms. Dutra’s p.r. pitch is ‘everything is wonderful’. Tragically, this is not the case.
Having visited Ms. Dutra’s earlier version of what she called their ‘state of the art, ideal Astec plant’ in Ontario, I know first hand of the leaks, the smells, the noise and the dusts coming from not only the plant itself, but also from the trucks hauling in rock and leaving with un-tarped asphalt loads. During peak production, when they are running 24/7 to fill government contracts, that means heavy trucks every 3-5 minutes, all day and night.
And if you want to get to Hwy 101 in the morning or afternoon rush hours, they predict stop and go traffic waiting for trucks at the Landing Way/Petaluma Boulevard So. intersection.
The Dutra Companies have a terrible legal and environmental record, stretching from the Port of Miami (FL) to the Gulf of the Farralones National Marine Sanctuary, filled with illegal dumping, dredging, huge fines and settlements, and bankruptcy. While Dutra has pitched their perfection to the community, the reality is unfortunately way short of their rosy pictures.
Now that Dutra’s fabrications here trying to hide their blocking of the Petaluma River’s navigational channel, and their having falsely mapped PG&E’s high pressure gas pipelines – the kind that just blew up in San Bruno – out of the way and onto their neighbor’s parcel (pipelines marked on Dutra’s parcels with 4×8 signs, “No anchoring. No dredging”), both of which we uncovered (no thanks to Sonoma County’s planning department), Dutra has eliminated their barging of materials.
The operations are not ‘river-dependent’, and Dutra will not bring one ounce of new shipping tonnage to our river. So much for their claims to help with river dredging.
In fact, had the county done their due diligence 6 years ago when Dutra proposed the barging scenario, we would have been able to move this operation to a more suitable location, away from Shollenberger Park, with the residences, businesses and tourists who use it and work near it.
All along, Dutra has fabricated information about their proposal. Why would they stop now?
Those who have recently posted here saying, ‘Petaluma has to take their share of asphalt pollution, and not increase pollution at Santa Rosa’s asphalt plants’ are just echoing Dutra’s perversion of environmental justice. You don’t spread pollution around. Instead, the right thing to do is to clean it up.
Dutra doesn’t get that.
This remains the wrong plant, in the wrong place.