Press Release: Groups Call for New and Complete Environmental Impact Report for Point Molate Project
Responses to the Notice of Preparation:
For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2019
Groups Call for New and Complete Environmental Impact Report for Point Molate Project
Cite climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, wildfire risk and threats to Eelgrass beds, SF Bay water quality, public safety, emissions and finances as reasons for full EIR.
On Monday, the city of Richmond ended a public comments period on their plan to bypass the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that require a complete Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on new projects. This on the same day the Trump Administration announced plans to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The city, rather than work on a new EIR, wants to “amend” a decade old EIR approved for a failed Casino development as the basis for fast-tracking a huge (over 2200 unit) housing development at Point Molate proposed by SunCal – a southern California real estate corporation, in a deal that Mayor Tom Butt has said he wants to conclude by October. SunCal’s “mixed-use development plan” would include three times the number of houses proposed in the 2009 Casino plan for a development ultimately rejected by the city.
Dozens of organizations and individuals including the Point Molate Alliance, Citizens for East Shore Parks, SPRAWLDEF, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, The Sierra Club, Audubon, Save the Bay, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Golden Hour Restoration Institute, Blue Frontier, a leading bay scientist, a local real-estate broker and the last chair of the city’s Point Molate Community Advisory Committee responded to Monday’s deadline with detailed and determined calls for a new and complete EIR. (https://ptmolatealliance.org/media-2/)
The comments point out that the law requires an EIR that will examine the unique nature, habitats and biodiversity of Point Molate – including over 400 species of plants and animals recently identified there. They call for an EIR that also addresses changing climate factors, extreme wildfire risk and bay pollution impacts including on the Bay’s most pristine and commercially important eelgrass beds that would result from construction and occupation of a new upscale housing tract on SF Bay’s last undeveloped, publicly owned headland.
“Point Molate is truly unique in the potential it holds for Richmond, the region and future generations. There is so much at stake in this project for the people of Richmond and the environment that doing less than a full Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report for this project would be unconscionable,” says Pam Stello, Co-Chair of the Point Molate Alliance.
“Two reports release this past year on the climate crisis change everything about planning in our cities, state and country,” says Robert Cheasty, Executive Director of Citizens for East Shore Parks. “Cities are required to prepare proper studies, and we are morally bound to do proper evaluations.”
Along with this link to a dozen of the submitted comments (https://ptmolatealliance.org/media-2/) the Point Molate Alliance is also attaching the economic analysis of the planned development carried out by Hatch consultants, a globally respected business and engineering consulting company. The Hatch report finds that if the city moves forward with the SunCal sale it could end up costing Richmond’s taxpayers $3.5 million a year for city services and other costs. This report also reflects the city’s failure to do their own economic due diligence.
For more information:
David Helvarg, Co-Chair, Point Molate Alliance
510-778-8470 C. 202-491-6296
Pam Stello, Co-Chair, Point Molate Alliance
Robert Cheasty, Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks
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