December 28, 2011
Judge Chouteau Buys County's Arguments
Dutra Asphalt Factory Approval Upheld by Court
We are very disappointed by Judge Chouteau's failure to find in favor of our
community coalition's legal challenge to protect Shollenberger Park, the
Petaluma River and our community's health and economy. Judge Chouteau has
rejected our plea to preserve the gateway to Sonoma County from blight and
protect the people of Petaluma from Dutra's industrial pollution.
Judge Chouteau has dismissed all of our claims, and seems to have adopted
county counsel's and Dutra's attorney's arguments without question.
1) Judge Chouteau has mistakenly written off Shollenberger Park and the
upper Petaluma River as an industrial blighted area that merits no further
protections or care. This is – contrary to its status as the most popular
park in Petaluma and a recognized National Geographic destination.
2) He chose to overlook the increased health risks caused by toxic air
pollution from many thousands of Dutra's diesel trucks, tugs and asphalt
manufacturing. He has rejected the legally required standards for
measuring toxic emissions from the project at its proposed location. He
asserted that CEQA cannot be used to address impacts to workers' health at
3) Despite Shamrock Materials sworn unwillingness to allow their dock to
receive Dutra's aggregate deliveries, Judge Chouteau accepted the County's
argument that the project could be approved as "river dependent".
4. He failed to address what would happen after the first three years with
Dutra's truck-only deliveries of aggregate, as permitted by the County, if
no barge delivery through Shamrock's permitted tonnage capacity was agreed
to or feasible. Would Dutra be shut down without river deliveries? Would
they just continue with thousands of truck trips? He refused to tell us how
that should or would work.
5. Judge Chouteau refused to respect the integrity of the county-wide
voters' 1998 approval of Measure D, establishing the Petaluma/Novato
Community Separator. This voter-approved mandate, like Urban Growth
Boundaries for all our cities, protects the entrance to Sonoma County, from
the county line to Petaluma's Urban Service Boundary, from intensified
development along the 101 corridor. The County, and now this judge, have
mistakenly left Dutra's parcels unprotected against industrial development
with an asphalt factory.
The plaintiffs' coalition of non-profits, individuals, and the City of
Petaluma will now consider the next steps, including possibly appealing
Judge Chouteau's ruling. Our attorneys at Lozeau/Drury feel we have many
legal issues that could find merit at a higher court. So far, we believe
that this judge's decision should be overturned.
The community's efforts to save Shollenberger Park, our River, Petaluma's
health and economic vitality are not over yet. Our city, community and
extended family have supported these battles for several years, and will
not give up now.
Your donations to fund the appeal are requested from all of you who love
Shollenberger Park, value clean air, and what makes Petaluma attractive and
strong. We are offended by Dutra's two 62 ft. asphalt storage towers and
thousands of trucks wafting trails of toxic and stinking asphalt smoke as
a landmark marking the Gateway to our fair city and county.
We will never give up fighting to preserve and protect Shollenberger Park.
Richard Drury, Lozeau/Drury LLP, (510) 836-4202
Joan Cooper, Friends of Shollenberger, (415) 516-3673
David Keller, Petaluma River Council, (707) 763-9336