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Cargill acts like it’s above the law
Thursday, June 14, 2012
By: Stephen Knight
Published in the Palo Alto Daily News
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Despite widespread opposition and a rejection of their salt pond development plan by Redwood City leaders and residents, Cargill and its developer DMB have launched a defiant legal assault against the Bay’s environmental protections.
Illustrating that Cargill/DMB continue to put their profits over the health of the Bay, the two companies sent a letter earlier this month to the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers asking to be exempt from key environmental protections that protect the Bay.
Specifically, Cargill is seeking to have its restorable salt ponds in Redwood City declared exempt from the Clean Water Act, which has protected our waterways for four decades, as well as the Rivers and Harbors Act, the nation’s oldest environmental law and one that has ensured access to our ports, rivers and bays for over a century.
Cargill has a long history of violating environmental protections in California and throughout the U.S., and has been fined repeatedly for dumping toxic pollution into San Francisco Bay.
As America’s largest private corporation and one of the biggest multinational corporations in the world, Cargill has been named as a “toxic ten” polluter for fouling rivers and contaminating groundwater across the country.
These latest actions are yet another indication that Cargill/DMB just don’t get — or just don’t care — that Redwood City and the region do not want their bayfill development. Regardless of the millions of dollars Cargill/DMB spend fighting our environmental protections, hiring armies of corporate lobbyists and PR firms to spin their story for government agencies and the public, it is not and has never been legal for Cargill to build on the Bay’s salt ponds. The bottom line is that Bay salt ponds are an unacceptable place for housing and development.
With the support of more than 200 elected officials, environmental organizations, labor unions and community groups, as well as tens of thousands of Bay Area residents, Save The Bay will continue to fight for this key piece of the Bay to be protected and restored to benefit people and wildlife.
Stephen Knight is the political director for Save The Bay, the largest regional organization working to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay.