March 2017

In this action alert:

  • BAAQMD Whistleblowers Say Pollution Records Destroyed
  • Alliance Co-Sponsors San Francisco Earth Day Action
  • Pacific Steel Permit Revision Status

BAAQMD Whistleblower Lawsuit

In February, two whistleblowers who were former BAAQMD employees had tv and print media coverage stating they were told to allow the destruction of pollution records, including settlements and violations, during their assigned jobs of digitizing, itemizing and indexing records. The whistleblowers were fired and have filed a lawsuit. Pacific Steel Casting Company was one of the companies named whose records were destroyed.

Earth Day Action in San Francisco on April 21st

The Alliance co-sponsors the Earth Day Action. Friday, April 21, 2017 at noon at US EPA Region IX Office, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco (between 2nd/3rd and Howard/Folsom Streets, near Montgomery BART/MUNI)  Mark your calendars!

April 21 2017 Earth Day Action for Climate & Environmental Justice

Pacific Steel Casting Permit Revision Update

There is no word yet from BAAQMD about the status of PSC’s permit revision. The Alliance submitted final public comments before the deadline of January 19, 2017 and will send an action alert once PSC’s approved permit is made public by the BAAQMD Board.

Call BAAQMD Complaint Hotline

Please call the 24/7 complaint hotline whenever you smell PSC’s distinctive burnt pot handle, acrid chemical smell at 800-334-6367.

December 2016

In this action alert:

Urgent Meeting: December 14 community meeting hosted by Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) for Pacific Steel Casting Company’s (PSC) proposed permit to operate

La Quinta Hotel, 920 University Ave. 5:30 – 7:30 pm Wednesday, December 14th

This is the first time the community has been allowed to participate in PSC’s permitting process.
Bring your families and friends to listen, ask questions and give comments about PSC’s proposed permit, your experiences with PSC’s emissions, BAAQMD inspectors, the complaint process, etc.

Please come! We cannot make change happen without you.

For details of Alliance comments on PSC’s proposed Synthetic Minor Operating Permit (SMOP) go to www.westberkeleyalliance.org, Resources tab and Alliance Publications. Click on: Final 2016 Alliance and Berkley Citizen Public Comment of Proposed PSC SMOP

September 2016

In this action alert:

  • Pacific Steel Casting Company (PSC) in violation of Title V permit to operate since 2005
  • Call Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) complaint hotline

PSC in Violation of Title V

In 2005, BAAQMD notified PSC it must apply for a Synthetic Minor Operating Permit (SMOP) which includes all three plants under one SMOP. BAAQMD and the US EPA did not follow-up on PSC’s required SMOP permit application under Title V.

In early 2016, community member LA Wood filed a complaint with BAAQMD and US EPA about PSC’s permit violation of Title V. The US EPA investigated and pressured BAAQMD to review PSC’s SMOP and provide for public comment.

August 8 the Alliance is notified by LA Wood that the BAAQMD will review PSC’s SMOP and the public comment period ends August 15.

The BAAQMD wrote the US EPA that public notice would be published in the Oakland Tribune on July 7. The Oakland Tribune had stopped publishing in 2015.

The BAAQMD did not give adequate public notice to the Alliance and impacted West Berkeley community members.

In a US EPA letter to LA Wood, a bad link to the BAAQMD website’s Proposed PSC SMOP Evaluation Report did not allow the Alliance access to the report.

After the Alliance submitted public comment August 10 noting problems with public notice and access to the PSC SMOP Evaluation Report on BAAMQD’s website, BAAQMD extended the public comment period from August 15 to August 30.

September 1 the Alliance submitted an addendum to public comments making these requests:

A 30-day public comment period beginning when BAAQMD provided all PSC permit applications from 2000-2016 per an April 2016 public records request to BAAQMD.

BAAQMD provide PSC emissions calculations in Appendix A of its SMOP Evaluation Report.

BAAQMD include terms from a 2007 federal-ordered consent decree between Communities for a Better Environment and PSC in PSC’s proposed SMOP.

BAAQMD District staff attend a community meeting in West Berkeley on a weekday evening to explain the permit documents in lay language and answer questions.

Call BAAQMD Complaint Hotline

Call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) 24-hour complaint hotline at 800 334-6367 to complain every time you smell an odor. Ask for the complaint number.

 

July 2015

In this action alert:

  • West Berkeley industry report: Item 69
  • Alliance letter to city council
  • Call Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) complaint hotline

West Berkeley industry report from Maio and Droste: Item 69

City council members Maio and Droste were tasked to gather information from the community, industry and BAAQMD about West Berkeley air quality at the January 20th council meeting. The Alliance and other community members urged the city council to refer Pacific Steel Casting Company and Berkeley Asphalt Company to the Zoning Adjustments Board for use permit review. The council members agreed to report back to council in three months. Six months later, on July 14, the council agenda included mention of the report, but it was not posted.

Alliance letter to city council

In response to the lack of timely and transparent reporting, the Alliance wrote a public letter to pressure the city council. The Maio and Droste report was e-mailed to the Alliance and some interested parties on the afternoon of the city council meeting. The report only generally addressed Maio and Droste’s meeting with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. An even better report will supposedly be released some time, but don’t hold your breath—unless Pacific Steel Casting Company is emitting pollution near you!

Call BAAQMD complaint hotline

Call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) 24-hour complaint hotline at 800 334-6367 to complain every time you smell an odor. Ask for the complaint number.

May 2015

In this action alert:

  • Attend May 26th City Council meeting peaceful, silent demonstration
  • Email Berkeley City Council
  • Call Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) complaint hotline

Peaceful, silent city council demonstration

Do you want clean air?

Council members Maio and Droste were tasked to gather information from the community, industry and BAAQMD about West Berkeley air quality, but they have not been willing to hold a community meeting in West Berkeley before delivering their findings to the council on May 26th. Council member Maio and Mayor Bates placed the West Berkeley air quality item last on the agenda. Maio and Droste have not committed to take action to stop the pollution.

Will you attend a peaceful, silent demonstration at the upcoming Berkeley City Council meeting on May 26th at 7 p.m.? The Alliance needs your response this week about the number of parents and children as well as other concerned community members who would attend.

The action plan is for concerned folks to stand in the back of the city council chambers at 7 p.m. wearing lightweight dust/pollen masks and holding simple signs warning about asthma, cancer and overall cumulative impacts of pollution on the Berkeley and Albany communities.

There are enough dust/pollen masks for everyone. This peaceful, silent action would bring public attention to the ongoing toxic emissions from Pacific Steel Casting Company and other sources of pollution in West Berkeley.

Once the Alliance gets your responses, we will prepare signs drawing attention to this ongoing pollution problem and contact media to attend this event.

Will you attend?

If not enough parents with children and other concerned folks plan to attend, the Alliance will unhappily have to cancel this event. Please email the Alliance if you will attend and participate in this peaceful, silent demonstration: westberkeleyalliance@yahoo.com

Email city council members

Email the Berkeley City Council about your concerns at: clerk@cityofberkeley.info
Urge the mayor and council to have the Zoning Adjustments Board review Pacific Steel Casting Company’s use permit and add these conditions: PSC must place continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) on all stacks at each plant, put fenceline monitors at each plant, use best practices, and implement a toxic use reduction plan (TUR) as used in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

Call BAAQMD complaint hotline

Call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) 24-hour complaint hotline at 800 334-6367 to complain every time you smell an odor. Ask for the complaint number.

January 2015

Happy New Year!

Action Alert

Tell the city council that Pacific Steel Casting Company (PSC) should have continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) at each stack as well as fence line monitors at each plant, and that PSC should implement the same kind of Toxic Use Reduction plan that is used throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

Air quality in West Berkeley is on the Berkeley city council meeting agenda, Tuesday, January 20th at 7 p.m. in Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr. Way at Allston Way.

Since public comment is a lottery system, please complete a public comment card to speak, or to give your speaking time to another concerned community member if your name is called.

Toxic Emissions Details

Worst Polluters in West Berkeley

Year in Review

  • On April 26th, Alliance members joined with Bayview Hunter’s Point community members in a march against cancer and pollution through Bayview Hunter’s Point, S.F
  • In July, the Alliance became one of 20 founding members of the California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC) http://www.cejcoalition.org
  • On November 8th, the CEJC held its first conference in Kettleman City, now with 50 California member groups represented and over 200 attendees
  • On December 6th, an Alliance member submitted a report on PSC and its impact on air quality in the community at a City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission forum

Complaints

PSC_Complaints

Keep complaining to the BAAQMD Complaint Hotline every time you smell a nuisance odor: 800 334-6367

July 2014

In this action alert:

  • Great news—we are joining with other grassroots organizations in California!
  • Please keep complaining to the BAAQMD complaint hotline: 800 334-6367.

California Environmental Justice Coalition

We, the undersigned grassroots community and environmental justice organizations, are pleased to announce that we have united to form the California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC).

The California Environmental Justice Coalition is a broad and inclusive grassroots coalition uniting urban, rural and indigenous communities suffering from pollution and environmental racism and injustice. CEJC brings together community and environmental justice groups, large and small, in order to unify our movement and support our common struggle for healthy communities and environmental justice.

The California Environmental Justice Coalition is open to all community and environmental justice organizations willing to work together in a principled and respectful manner.

We will all work together to develop policies and initiatives and carry out joint campaigns to promote environmental health and justice for all.

We believe that an injury to one community is an injury to all, and we will not compromise or sell out any community.

We will follow and uphold the Principles of Environmental Justice, and are united in our fight for healthy communities and environmental justice.

Initiating organizations of the California Environmental Justice Coalition:

Asamblea de Poder Popular de Gonzales
Comite Civico del Valle
East Side Coalition Against Exide Toxic Technologies
El Pueblo Para el Aire y Agua Limpia/People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City
Fort Ord Environmental Justice Network
Grayson Neighborhood Council
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
Healthy 880 Communities
Huntersview Mothers and Fathers Committee for Health and Environmental Justice
La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle
Mohave Cultural Preservation Program
San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement Project
Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
Valley Improvement Projects
West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs
West County Toxics Coalition
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
Youth United for Community Action

Keep Complaining

When you complain, regulators are more likely to do their job. Call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Complaint Hotline (1-800-334-6367), 24/7 whenever you smell any nuisance odor. Tell your neighbors how they can complain, and many thanks for what you do!

 

April 2014

  • Earth Day Action: Walk Against Cancer and Pollution; Saturday, April 26, 11 am, MLK Jr. Park, 5700 block of 3rd Street at Carroll, Bayview Hunters Point, SF
  • Keep Complaining: Call BAAQMD Complaint Hotline (1-800-334-6367), 24/7 whenever you smell any nuisance odor

Earth Day Action

What will you do on Earth Day? Please join us at the People’s Earth Day 2014 Environmental Justice Walk Against Cancer and Pollution. Cosponsored by our ally, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, this walk honors environmental justice and loved ones who are suffering and who have passed due to cancer.

When: Saturday, April 26, 11 am
Where: In front of Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the 5700 block of 3rd Street at Carroll, Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco

Keep Complaining

Since February, there have been more complaints to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Complaint Hotline about Pacific Steel Casting Company’s emissions, and that’s because you are making a difference. When you complain, regulators are more likely to do their job. Call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Complaint Hotline (1-800-334-6367), 24/7 whenever you smell any nuisance odor. Tell your neighbors how they can complain, and many thanks for what you do!

Sincerely,
Janice
Volunteer
West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs

February 2014

  • New Alliance Website
  • Alliance’s Year in Review
  • BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) Update
  • City of Berkeley Update
  • Cancer Update
  • What You Can Do

May 2014 bring all of us in the Alliance closer to good health and less toxic air! Thank you for steadfastly calling the BAAQMD Complaint Line (1-800-334-6367) whenever you smell PSC’s odor. It’s the best tool available for pressuring regulatory action.

New Alliance Website

We are proud to announce our new website, created by the Design Action Collective and one of the Alliance’s long-time members, David. The design Action Collective work was paid for by a grant from the Justice Fund of the San Francisco Foundation. David’s work was a very generous donation. Please visit the newly designed Alliance website and give us your feedback: westberkeleyalliance.org

Alliance’s Year In Review

During the past year, members of the Alliance attended several S.F. protests; one against the passage of the Keystone XL Pipeline and one to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change.

BAAQMD Update

The Alliance used a second grant from the Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund of the San Francisco Foundation to pay for a wonderful consultant, Julia May, to write incisive public comments on behalf of the Alliance regarding the first draft of the BAAQMD metal melting rule.

Alliance members attended a number of important meetings at the BAAQMD:

  • providing vital input into two draft versions of the BAAQMD’s first metal melting rule
  • giving testimony at the BAAQMD Board’s meeting when it approved the BAAQMD staff’s final draft metal melting rule
  • advocating for adoption of the changes recommended by the BAEHC (Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative, of which the Alliance is proudly a member) to the BAAQMD’s proposed public participation plan.

City of Berkeley Update

The Alliance attended a public meeting convened by Linda Maio, city council member for 21 years in the district that houses PSC (Pacific Steel Casting Company). Maio has never called the BAAQMD complaint hotline, and she did not commit to using it in the future to complain about the nuisance odor. This is unfortunate because a confirmed complaint by an elected official carries the weight of five confirmed complaints by ordinary community members. Five ordinary confirmed complaints can lead to the BAAQMD issuing a notice of violation to industry, which is the path to legal action and fines in the absence of cleanup.

Cancer Update

It is with a very heavy heart that I inform members that my life partner of 40 years was very recently diagnosed and on February 16th died of a brain tumor. We had been active in the struggle to get PSC to clean up for more than 30 years before the diagnosis. I will continue to monitor and respond to Alliance e-mails, but the action alerts may be few and far between in the near future.

What You Can Do

Let’s all continue the struggle to insure that the air we breathe is safer for us, our families and all workers. Call the BAAQMD Complaint Hotline (1-800-334-6367), 24/7 whenever you smell any objectionable odor. Educate and organize your block!

Sincerely,
Janice
Volunteer
West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs