Supervisors Approve Dutra Plant 3-2

Opponents, shut out from speaking at meeting, plan to sue

The Board of Supervisors approved the controversial Dutra project Tuesday, paving the way for the aggregate and asphalt plant to begin building immediately.

The votes were identical to the straw vote supervisors cast on October 12, with Supervisors Mike Kerns, Efren Carrillo and Paul Kelley supporting the project and Supervisors Valerie Brown and Shirlee Zane opposing.

One woman, who introduced herself as Magick, was arrested after striding up to the dais where the supervisors sat and demanding to speak from there. As she was led off in handcuffs, she sang "I shall not be moved." She also made sure to leave detailed instructions to a member of the audience to move her car.

Opponents vowed to file a lawsuit "within a month or two" on grounds that the proposed plant violates air quality laws and would create noise, traffic and effect the surrounding environment.

"The issue is where do you place industrial activity that you know we need that is also toxic and noxious and the county has decided to put it in a location that is so dead wrong," said David Keller, a former Petaluma city council member and founder of the Petaluma River Council.

The Dutra plant will be located at Haystack Landing, across the river from Shollenberger Park, that has become a favorite spot for hikers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts since being built in 2000.

Aimi Dutra, spokeswoman for Dutra Materials said the company welcomed the decision after a protracted process that lasted five years.

"We're looking forward to working with and working for the Petaluma community as we did for over 20 years," Dutra said. "I'm a mom of three children and I get people's concerns about clean air. But if we are true environmentalists, you don't want that material trucked in from far away sites. Being green is buying local and it doesn't just mean your groceries."

Dutra's San Rafael plant was cited at least 16 times since 1989, although most of the violations appear to have been corrected, according to data from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. One concern is about PM 2.5, a component of diesel emissions has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and childhood asthma, according to Petaluma resident Amy Hanks.

The board's decision came a day after opponents learned that public comment would not be allowed at the hearing, a move defended by county counsel. At the packed meeting, opponents raised the issue again, saying that the county was violating the Brown Act by preventing them from speaking on the topic during general comment.

After people clapped to support speakers, Board chair Brown threatened to cut speakers' time to two minutes, which prompted angry comments and shouts of "whose hearing is this anyway?" and "you're taking our government away from us." 

Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara December 15, 2010 at 05:05 AM
this is amazing.
AvoidTheRedPill December 15, 2010 at 05:19 PM
I feel sick already.
Marshall West December 15, 2010 at 05:24 PM
Mike Kerns gave 12 years of disservice to South County, and now the final insult by this lame duck supervisor by approving the asphalt plant on our river.
Lilith Rogers December 17, 2010 at 03:01 AM
Magick, you are a very brave woman who walks her talk. Thank you. Lilith Rogers


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