Urgent Response Needed! Send public comment to DTSC by June 25!

Urgent Response Needed! Send public comment to DTSC by June 25!

The City of Richmond signed a Development Agreement last December allowing HRP Campus Bay Property, LLC to build 4,000 residential units on top of the old Stauffer Chemical waste site, currently owned by Astra-Zeneca. Before the Development Agreement can be finalized, however, the developer (HRP) and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), must sign off on a Prospective Purchaser Agreement allowing the transfer of the land from Zeneca (aka Cherokee Simeon LLC) to HRP. The Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) is a legal document indemnifying both the DTSC and the purchaser (HRP) from lawsuits. The public has until June 25 to comment on this agreement, by emailing public comment letter to [email protected] and [email protected].

Unclear in this document is: 

--What remaining liability Zeneca still has for cleaning up the site? Currently Astra-Zeneca, a Fortune 500 company with a net worth of $67 Billion, is responsible for any remediation the DTSC orders. 

-- What parties are liable in the future in case of lawsuits claiming environmental harm from an inadequate clean-up?

-- Who will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the site?

-- What liabilities currently assigned to HRP will be transferred to future owners? HRP plans to sell off lots on the property to other developers who will then sell the individual units to residents or investors.

-- Will the City of Richmond ultimately be held responsible for the health and safety of the residents? 

-- Under the PPA, HRP will set aside $13 million for the clean-up. Will this be sufficient, especially if the ordered remediation does not work in the long run?

-- Why has the DTSC ignored the issue of sea level rise? (The DTSC's 2018 assessment assumes 14 inches of sea level rise. Current estimates by the State of California are up to 3 feet by mid-century, and 7 to 10 feet by 2200.) 

-- The DTSC says it will review the effects of sea level rise on the buried toxins 5 years after the completion of the project. If sea level rise does alter the safety of the site 5 years, 10 years or 15 years in the future, after the cap has been poured and 10,000 people have moved in, what actions will the DTSC be able to take to fix the problem, and who will pay for the fix? (Remember, under the terms of the PPA, both the DTSC and HRP are indemnified against lawsuits.)

The public has been asking the DTSC these and other questions since the PPA was made public last month. We have not been given adequate answers (mostly "we'll get back to you on that"). 

We have until June 25 to comment on the Prospective Purchaser Agreement. For more information, please check out the richmondshorelinealliance.org or e-mail the Richmond Southeast Shoreline Community Advisory Group at [email protected].

Send public comment letter to [email protected] and [email protected]  The DTSC may decline to finalize the PPA depending on the public comment it receives.          

Photo of the Zeneca site (paved area) along the Bay, captured by patrol drone Osprey, San Francisco Bay Keeper