Dutra Asphalt Plant wins vs. Save Schollenberger Park supporters
Judge Chouteau Buys County’s Arguments
Dutra Asphalt Factory Approval Upheld by Court
We are very disappointed by Judge Chouteau’s failure to find in favor of our community coalition¹s legal challenge to protect Shollenberger Park, the Petaluma River and our community’s health and economy. Judge Chouteau has rejected our plea to preserve the gateway to Sonoma County from blight and protect the people of Petaluma from Dutra¹s industrial pollution.
Judge Chouteau has dismissed all of our claims, and seems to have adopted county counsel’s and Dutra's attorney’s arguments without question.
1) Judge Chouteau has mistakenly written off Shollenberger Park and the upper Petaluma River as an industrial, blighted area that merits no further protections or care. This is contrary to its status as the most popular park in Petaluma and a recognized National Geographic destination.
2) He chose to overlook the increased health risks caused by toxic air pollution from many thousands of Dutra¹s diesel trucks, tugs and asphalt manufacturing. He has rejected the legally required standards for measuring toxic emissions from the project at its proposed location. He asserted that CEQA cannot be used to address impacts to workers' health at the plant.
3) Despite Shamrock Materials sworn unwillingness to allow their dock to receive Dutra¹s aggregate deliveries, Judge Chouteau accepted the County¹s argument that the project could be approved as river dependent.
4. He failed to address what would happen after the first three years with Dutra’s truck-only deliveries of aggregate, as permitted by the County, if no barge delivery through Shamrock's permitted tonnage capacity was agreed to or feasible. Will Dutra be shut down without river deliveries? Or will they just continue with thousands of truck trips? He refused to tell us how that should or would work.
5. Judge Chouteau refused to respect the integrity of the countywide voters' 1998 approval of Measure D, establishing the Petaluma/Novato Community Separator. This voter-approved mandate, like Urban Growth Boundaries for all our cities, protects the entrance to Sonoma County, from the county line to Petaluma's Urban Service Boundary, from intensified development along the 101 corridor. The County, and now this judge, have mistakenly left Dutra's parcels unprotected against industrial development with an asphalt factory.
The plaintiffs' coalition of non-profits, individuals, and the City of Petaluma will now consider the next steps, including possibly appealing Judge Chouteau’s ruling. Our attorneys at Lozeau/Drury feel we have many legal issues that could find merit at a higher court. So far, we believe that this judge’s decision should be overturned.
The community’s efforts to save Shollenberger Park, our River, Petaluma's health and economic vitality are not over yet. Our city, community and extended family have supported these battles for several years, and will not give up now.
Your donations to fund the appeal are requested from all of you who love Shollenberger Park, value clean air, and what makes Petaluma attractive and strong. We are offended by Dutra's two 62 ft. asphalt storage towers and thousands of trucks wafting trails of toxic and stinking asphalt smoke as a landmark marking the Gateway to our fair city and county.
We will never give up fighting to preserve and protect Shollenberger Park.
Joan Cooper, Friends of Shollenberger, (415)516-3673
David Keller, Petaluma River Council, (707) 763-9336