Victoria Ashley, Councilmember, Green Party of Solano County
Letter, Vallejo Times Herald, 03/11/16, 5:07 PM PST
The 2012 Chevron refinery fire and massive black smoke cloud, which made national headlines and drove 14,000 Richmond residents to emergency rooms at local hospitals, served as a reminder of the hazards of locating heavy industrial facilities adjacent to populous cities. In contrast to the proposed VMT/Orcem cement plant in Vallejo, the Chevron plant pre-dated the city of Richmond, which was an agricultural community of 200 residents when the refinery opened at the turn of the century.
Although a cement mill like the proposed Orcem/VMT plant may not pose the kinds of acute environmental and health risks of an oil refinery, it would undoubtedly impose a range of negative impacts on the environment and quality of life in the adjacent community — many simply from the scale of the operation. For example, Orcem expects its plant to process 70-100 tons of material per hour — material that will have to be moved into the plant and out of it (in the form of very fine alkaline powder) by barge, train, and/or truck, all burning fossil fuels upwind from Vallejo’s south side and downtown. That’s the weight equivalent of 2,400 cars moving in and out of the plant every day.