Vallejo residents protest proposed cement plant near Mare Island

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Residents in Vallejo are protesting a plan to build a cement factory and deep-water shipping terminal near Mare Island. (KGO-TV)

Residents in Vallejo are protesting a plan to build a cement factory and deep-water shipping terminal near Mare Island.

The city's planning department rejected the proposal saying it would increase pollution and traffic, but the company is appealing.

Dublin, Ireland-based Orcem wants to spend $50 million dollars turning this old flour plant into a hi-tech cement factory.

Environmentalists as well as the longshoreman's union, and neighborhood groups oppose it.

"We want something better than a toxic, 24/7 cement factor that will bring in shiploads of industrial waste to Vallejo's waterfront," Peter Brooks with Fresh Air Vallejo said.

Vallejo's planning commission voted 6-1 to reject the plan back in march, but Orcem is appealing. Neighbors hope the city council kills the idea once and for all later this month.

"This is a predominantly black area. We do have other here who are ill, we have the elderly who are ill," resident LaDonna William said.

Another company would build the deep-water port. Orcem says recycling metal slag, limestone and other chemicals produces better quality cement using 90 percent less energy, and producing 80 percent less pollution. Critics aren't buying it.

"There is no reason to have it here other than this a poor neighborhood and they don't think we're going to rise," Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown said.

But, not everyone is opposed. The Solano Labor Council, whose members would do the renovation and construction say the area would benefit.

"I certainly think so if you have a deep water port, if you have a dilapidated structure that's actually going to turn out an environmentally friendly product," Solano Labor Council member Jon Riley said.

A draft environmental impact report said the plant could pump 70 tons of pollutants into the air every year, and that hundreds of trucks per day would drive through residential streets taking material to and from the plant. Orcem is appealing the planning commission rejection, and the city council will debate then vote on the appeal over two days on May 30th and June 1st.

Related Topics:
businesstoxic wastedevelopmentconstructionenvironmentpollutionprotestVallejo
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