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Talking Points for the April 20, 2021 City Council Mtg, which will include a presentation by Kristina Hill, Ph.D, Associate Professor, UC-Berkeley, on Sea Level Rise and its impacts on hazardous waste sites near the shoreline.

There will be two opportunities to give your comments at this Tuesday's City Council meeting: during "Open Forum" and during the public comment following Dr. Hill's presentation.  The Agenda items might be re-ordered during the Agenda Review just after 6:30pm - so call into the meeting at 6:30pm to find out the final order of the Agenda items, including "Open Forum" and Dr. Hill's presentation on Sea Level Rise and its impacts on hazardous waste sites near the shoreline.
Be forewarned and prepared!  1) The current City Council method for putting speakers into a queue per Agenda items requires people to stay connected to the Zoom meeting the whole time while they are waiting to speak.  If you get disconnected you may lose your place in the queue.  2) see Tips for public comment to understand the current City Council Zoom meeting public comment process, 3) the City Council will stop speakers during "Open Forum" if their topic appears to be for a separate item on the Agenda.  So each talking point below indicates if it is intended for "Open Forum" or for the "Public Comment" following Dr. Hill's presentation about Sea Level Rise.
The following are sample talking points, with each taking about 2 minutes to say by the average to fast speaker.  
(Open Forum, ~170 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______ [and I am a Richmond resident.]  
The AstraZeneca site is a Superfund-qualified site, not a Brownfield.  A brownfield is a site like Marina Bay, contaminated but relatively simple to remediate and monitor.  The federal EPA accessed the AstraZeneca site in 1994 and found it qualified highly for the National Priorities List (otherwise known as the Superfund List.)  The listing was deferred pending an agreement with the State to take charge of the cleanup.  However this does not in any way lessen the health and environmental dangers of this site. 
The Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2001 clearly states that a site can't be called a brownfield if it was proposed for listing on the National Priorities List.  Furthermore the State's responsibility can be revoked if remediation does not proceed in a manner both timely and "protective of human health."
Please re-open and update the EIR for this Superfund-qualified site  to reflect Sea Level impacts on this site since future residential development is planned here.
(Open Forum, ~ 130 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ________ [and I am a Richmond resident.]
In response to the community-based lawsuit regarding the heavily polluted AstraZeneca shoreline site, the new City Council has an opportunity to change course and seek ways to remove the site’s hazardous material before development is added there – do not build home there until the site has been cleaned up to single family residential standards.  The new City Council can give City Staff, City Attorneys and the community a strong signal that solutions are being sought to resolve shoreline hazards that do not include leaving them in-place.
Leaving contaminated material in-place jeopardizes human and environmental health during and after future development.  Avoid future lawsuits and liability for the City – Do not build homes on an active, leaking, Superfund-qualified toxic waste dump.
(Open Forum, ~154 words) Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]
Main Point:  Urge the Council not to go forward with the "CampusBay" development without a thorough review of the health and safety risks. 
Soil at the AstraZeneca site is contaminated with over a hundred toxic chemicals, such as benzene, dieldrin, polyvinyl chloride, Tri-chloro-ethyl-ene (TCE) and arsenic.  Many of these chemicals and heavy metals are buried only a foot under the ground.  These are all labeled "Chemicals of Concern'' because of their effect on human health.  These chemicals will be mobilized by rising seas and released into the environment, endangering human and animal health.
The City Council can give city staff, city attorneys and the community a strong signal that solutions are being sought to resolve shoreline hazards that do not include leaving them in place.  Leaving contaminated material in place jeopardizes human and environmental health during and after future development.  Avoid future lawsuits and liabilities for the City.  No homes on the AstraZeneca toxic landfill.
(Open Forum, ~ 220 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]
Maybe you’ve heard of Love Canal; it was a giant excavation used as a refuse dump by the city of Niagara and then as a toxic chemical dump by Hooker Chemical.  This history was known, yet the area was covered with a cap and homes and an elementary school built on top.  Birth defects, miscarriages, and unexplained illnesses all pointed to exposure to toxic chemicals. 
Some of the same toxic chemicals dumped at Love Canal have been identified at the AstraZeneca site.  Pouring concrete over 65 acres of hazardous materials and then building dense 8-story condominiums on top is a foolish idea.  There will be no way to physically reach contaminated material after development, short of tearing down newly constructed multi-story buildings.  There is no containment on the sides or underneath the cap, allowing contaminated soil and groundwater to exude poisons for all time.
Are we really considering repeating history and exposing Richmond residents and the entire Bay area to these poisons?
Please have the AstraZeneca site EIR re-opened and require the developer to prove their planned VOC remediation will prevent the VOC levels from re-occuring sometime after the homes are built, and will prevent conversion of the arsenic and lead into water-soluble forms.
(Open Forum, ~160 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]
Richmond residents have direct experience with the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s wait-and-react response to hazards in our neighborhoods.  Marina Bay has 17 buried or exposed hazardous waste areas.  DTSC lost sight of four of those areas for 15 years, until the public brought them back to DTSC's attention.
Even though five-year reviews are required after DTSC oversees cleanup and health and safety regulations relating to hazardous materials, the first five-year review was completed after 17 years, 12 years late.
The DTSC will be the sole government agency responsible for the health and safety of 10,000 or more people living in a small area on top of a massive hazardous waste site.  However, that agency at best is slow and reactive, not proactive and forward-thinking.  This scenario is a recipe for harmful health impacts to those people who depend on that agency for protection.
(Open Forum, ~225 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]
The Department of Toxic Substances Control’s remedy for the AstraZeneca site includes pouring a concrete cap (with no sides or bottom) over 60 acres of contaminated soil.
But according to Grant Cope, DTSC's deputy director for site remediation, rising groundwater is “a whole new game-changer, particularly when you’re talking about sites that are contaminated with industrial solvents… It remains unclear whether caps meant to keep pollutants buried—a strategy used at remediated sites in recent decades—would continue to work if groundwater rises.The caps were not designed for this purpose.
The DTSC recently released a statement that said it will not reconsider the FS/RAP (the planned remediation). It said, "There have not been any substantial changes with respect to the circumstances under which the project is undertaken that require major revisions of the EIR due to the involvement of new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects."  
However, sea level rise IS a substantial change in circumstances. Rising seas will affect the mobilization of arsenic currently buried in dry ground, the efficiency of soil vapor extraction wells that vent toxic gases away from residential buildings, and will undermine the stability of the un-engineered fill under the cap in the case of an earthquake. Why is the DTSC denying that rising seas and groundwater constitute a substantial change?
(Open Forum, ~165 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]
The City has the right and duty to protect the health and safety of its residents.  The Development Agreement approved by the City council last December acknowledges this.
The Development Agreement states, "The City shall exercise its discretion under this Agreement and the Applicable City Regulations in a manner which is consistent with the public health, safety and welfare...the City shall retain, at all times, its authority to take any legally valid action necessary to protect persons or property from dangerous or hazardous conditions which create a threat to the public health or safety."
All around the Bay, cities and residents of shoreline developments are trying to figure out what to do with whole neighborhoods built on top of contaminated sites. Examples are Bayview/Hunters Point and Treasure Island.  It makes no sense for Richmond to knowingly and deliberately create a severe public health problem by building a new neighborhood on contaminated land without first cleaning it up to residential standards.
(Open Forum, ~210 words)  Good Evening.  My name is ______  [and I am a Richmond resident.]  
The AstraZeneca site on the Richmond southeast shoreline is leaking highly contaminated water and soil gas from 550,000 cubic yards of hazardous material left behind by 100-years of hazardous material left behind by 100-years of chemical manufacturing.  The community is near unanimous in its commitment that the material be removed from the shoreline to protect San Francisco Bay and all future generations from its harmful impacts. 
Pouring concrete on top of 65-acres of hazards to build dense 80-foot-high condominiums will leave an unmitigated toxic-forever legacy.  There would be no way to physically reach contaminated source material after development, short of tearing down newly constructed multi-story buildings.  There is no containment on the sides or underneath the massive quantities of hazardous material, allowing contaminated soil and groundwater to leak, unchecked for all-time.
To do anything less than a full and complete removal of the hazardous waste on the AstraZeneca site on Richmond's southeast shoreline endangers the community's health, the environment, and the Bay.  Any future development must wait until the site meets the highest residential standard for health and safety, allowing for the widest possible range of use now and in the future for this site.
(Public Comment - Sea Level Rise Item, ~170 words)
Good Evening.  My name is ________ [and I am a Richmond resident.]
The major contaminants found at the Astra Zeneca site are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. The developers propose dealing with the VOCs by drilling into the ground and injecting a substance much like mayonnaise to sustain bacteria that can reduce the VOC levels.  They claim this will eliminate all the sources of contamination, despite prior on-site tests that failed to prove this.  In addition this technique will not remove the heavy metals, and in some cases the on-site tests indicated it made things worse.  And how can a few drilling sites eradicate contamination from over 100 years of dumping across the whole site? 
The developers claim the treatment areas will be monitored, so that things can be fixed if the toxic levels start climbing again a year later as they did after the prior tests.  However per the proposed building timeline, residential units will already have been built.  So if the VOCs levels climb back up, will everyone be evicted and the buildings dynamited?
What about sea level rise and rising groundwater pressure under the building foundations?  These not only will push water-soluble toxins close against the foundations but also push the contamination sideways towards adjacent properties and into the Marsh and Bay.
(Public Comment - Sea Level Rise Item, ~185 words)
Good Evening.  My name is _______ [and I am a Richmond resident.]
You may have heard the platitude: “The solution to pollution is dilution.”
The idea is that if poisons like heavy metals or volatile organic compounds from the Astra Zeneca site are washed into a large body of water like San FranciscoBay, they will be present in such small amounts that they won’t hurt anybody. 
But this easy reassurance is based on profound ignorance. It assumes that we haven’t poisoned the Bay enough yet, so it’s OK to keep adding toxic chemicals to the mix. This idea also assumes that tiny amounts of poisons won’t do any harm.  However, there’s a great deal of variability in the effects of different toxins.  For some substances, even a tiny amount is enough to cause disease in humans or to kill the developing embryos that would otherwise grow up into herring, smelt, and crab.  The Bay belongs to us all, and the AstraZeneca poisons should be moved to a secure area where they won't hurt humans or the environment.
What can the city do?  Insist on a complete cleanup of the AstraZeneca site before any development is approved.
(Public Comment - Sea Level Rise Item, ~ 200 words) 
Good Evening.  My name is _______ [and I am a Richmond resident.] 
Sea level rise is going to happen.  Even if everyone on earth changes their habits tonight, it will take many years to slow down global warming, because the damage has already been done. 
What does this mean for the AstraZeneca site?  This site is actually composed of toxic waste from over 100 years of dumping byproducts of heavy industrial and agricultural research.  Because the waste was just dumped on the ground there is no bottom to the waste site.  So as sea level rises, more and more of toxic materials will be washed out into San Francisco Bay.  This will affect the health of the entire Bay Area, from those who fish to feed their families, to the birds and marine life, to the commercial fishing industry, and to those that use the Bay for recreation.
We have the opportunity to safeguard the health of San Francisco Bay by insisting on a complete cleanup of the AstraZeneca site to single family home residential standards before anything is built at that location.   An incomplete cleanup will endanger the Bay as well as the health of anyone who lives on this site.
(Public Comment - Sea Level Rise Item, ~190 words)
Good Evening.  My name is ______ [and I am a Richmond resident.]
The level of water in San Francisco Bay is estimated to rise up to two feet by 2030 and up to five feet by 2050.
None of the toxic waste dumps around the Bay were adequately constructed to deal with sea level rise.  They do not have concrete floors and walls to protect the Bay.  The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) should be protecting the environment and California residents by requiring cleanup of these dump sites, but the DTSC does not appear to be doing an adequate job.
Contamination of the Bay by toxic waste is a critical issue because commercial fisheries depend on healthy embryos and smelt that become Dungeness crab and fish, and embryos of every species are vulnerable to heavy metals and organic poisons.  At each step in the food chain, toxins become more concentrated.  Already, pier anglers who fish to feed their families probably consume the maximum allowable dose of toxins such as mercury.
The proposed construction of residential units on top of a toxic waste dump is a ridiculously bad idea that will injure residents of Richmond and of the Bay Area for generations.
(Public Comment - Sea Level Rise Item, ~220 words)
Good Evening.  My name is ______ [and I am a Richmond resident.]
The Department of Toxic Substances Control did not consider the latest estimates of sea level rise when they prepared the remediation plan.  When DTSC staff were pressed on this issue, they issued a public statement denying that sea level rise needs to be taken into account at this time.  Instead they said they would review the effect of sea level rise at their next five-year review.  However by that time the developer says homes will already have been completed and sold.  The DTSC refuses to explain how  contamination exacerbated by sea level rise can be fixed once buildings have been built on site, and how residents can be protected should a corrective action be ordered.
Grant Cope, DTSC's deputy director for site remediation, stated recently that "groundwater rise must be taken into account when new buildings are planned, or when toxic sites are cleaned up." (KPBS Feb. 8, 2021)    Why hasn't the DTSC taken groundwater rise into account in their study of the AstraZeneca site?
The City should order the EIR be re-opened and updated to reflect the health and safety risks posed by sea level rise on the AstraZeneca site, and that the site be cleaned up to single-family residential standards before homes are built there.