UPDATE ON EMERYVILLE'S BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
On March 5, 1996, staff presented Council item CR# 96-008 explaining the proposed containment zone changes and the "brownfields" redevelopment project in the City of Emeryville. This project was considered extremely important to the City of Berkeley because the State Water Board has suggested relaxation of clean up standards in its containment zone policy and it is this policy which Emeryville is proposing to implement for its city-wide brownfield redevelopment project. (Brownfield redevelopment enables the use of contaminated land by management of such land and groundwater rather than cleaning it up.)
Council directed staff to send communications to the state and federal agencies critical of the relaxation in cleanup standards and a separate communication to the City of Emeryville outlining Council's concern regarding the potential impact of contamination in Berkeley. The letter to Emeryville, dated March 19, 1996 (Exhibit A), requested that it take a number of actions including: a) include formal involvement by Berkeley staff in Emeryville' s process to establish the city-wide brownfield; b) issuance of an Environmental Impact Report; and c) compensation for Berkeley staff time to review the technical data which will be used to define the brownfield project. Council further directed staff to report back in September on the status of the project in Emeryville.
Emeryville responded to the City's concerns in a letter dated April 4, 1996 (Exhibit B), in which it declined to implement the suggestions Berkeley staff presented to them. In fact, Emeryville had already filed a notice with Alameda County on March 6, 1996, to exempt the project from the California Environmental Quality Act. However, in a follow-up correspondence from Berkeley dated April 19, 1996 (Exhibit C), and through verbal communication, staff has negotiated a "stakeholder" position on the Emeryville taskforce charged with reviewing cleanup standards in the brownfield/containment zone.
The City of Emeryville has also received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the establishment of the brownfield redevelopment project. The grant, which is administered by the City of Emery vile Redevelopment Agency, has already been awarded to various consultants to provide the following services and or products in order of financial commitment: 1) collection of known data from regulatory agencies and collection and analysis of samples to determine pollution; 2) facilitation of public participation processes; and 3) development of geographic information system (GIS) mapping capabilities.
Emeryville was required to match the EPA grant and has already earmarked funding for public workshops, a mitigation fund consultant, legal services, additional sampling, and fees to regulatory agencies. (The mitigation fund will receive money from Emeryville and from owners of polluted sites who enter the program, as well as from developers or other parties who will benefit from the brownfield redevelopment policy. It will be the charge of the mitigation fund consultant to suggest the level of financial contribution from the benefiting parties, including the party responsible for the pollution.)
On August 24, 1996, staff attended a public participation workshop in the City of Emeryville on the proposed brownfield redevelopment process. The meeting was attended by about 60 people, including several consultants, city staff, representative from U.S. EPA, and other experts. Timelines for the remainder of the work were discussed and are to be defined by the community transpierce and technical advisory team. At this meeting, Berkeley staff requested from the U.S. EPA that they make a grant available to the cities of Berkeley and Oakland to cover costs of our involvement as stakeholders in the Emeryville project. Staff will follow up in writing with the U.S. EPA to request a $50,000 grant.
Staff will continue to communicate with Emery vile and state and federal agencies to monitor the brownfield redevelopment technical data. However, the technical advisory team is not open to the public nor yet to City staff. It is still staffs position that the discovery and monitoring of the containment zone will need a much larger infusion of funds than currently available. It is not clear at this time how the City of Berkeley can influence the technical aspects of Emeryville brownfield process, especially since the oversight regulatory agencies are committed to accelerating containment zones and brownfield redevelopment projects. In addition, staff has limited resources to be fully involved in the case.
Dear Mr. Wood:
I am in receipt of your letter requesting to be involved in Emeryville's Brownfields Project. Specifically, you requested to be included as a member of the Technical Advisory (Oversight) Committee. This Committee is composed of technical experts from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and other regulatory agencies with the purpose of providing technical advise to the City. The Committee is fully constituted and has been meeting for several months.
The City has also created a Brownflelds Pilot Task Force which will recommend mitigation measures and other policy tools to guide the safe and effective redevelopment of the Brownfields Program. The Task Force represents various stakeholders in the Brownfields Program, and all meetings will be noticed and open to the public. Is your request is to be a member of this group?
For your information, the City intends to ask the cities of Berkeley and Oakland to recommend participants to be members of Emeyville's Brownflelds Pilot Task Force. The Mayor of Emeryville will soon be asking the two Mayors to formally submit the names of individuals that will be considered for inclusion in the Task Force.
I would suggest that, if you are interested in representing Berkeley, you submit your name to the Mayor of Berkeley to be considered for Emeryville's Brownfields Pilot Task Force.
RECOMMENDATION That the City Council request the City Clerk to write a letter to the Emeryville City Manager recommending L A Wood for consideration for appointment to the Emeryville Brownfields Pilot Taskforce.
BACKGROUND: Mr. Wood has a keen interest in brownfields and would like to participate in the taskforce. Please see attached. No other Berkeley citizen (as far as I know) has expressed an interest in being on this taskforce.
Thank you for inviting the City of Berkeley to participate in Emeryville's community-based Task Force. As you requested, I am forwarding to you the names and qualifications of four candidates from which one will be appointed by your City Council to serve on the Task Force:
1. Nicholas Morgan, Berkeley, CA 94785 Qualifications: Mr. Morgan is a Berkeley resident. Runs the Greenfire Project which consults on conversion of military sites. Worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for ten years. Recently appointed to the Community Environmental Advisory Commission.
2. Nabil Al-Hadithy, PhD2 Qualifications: He is a Berkeley resident and has worked for the City of Berkeley in the Toxics Management Division for nearly 4 years. He currently manages the program and also serves as secretary to the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. He has been in the environmental field for ten years. Previously he worked as a consultant and managed a county Environmental Health program.
3. L A Wood, Berkeley, CA 947020 Qualifications: Mr. Wood is a Berkeley resident, and community educator on environmental issues, including both surface and subsurface waters. He has written papers on containment zones and participated with several community environmental groups on a variety of matters. He is a producer of documentaries on environmental issues.
4. Jami Caseber, Berkeley Qualifications: Mr. Caseber is a Berkeley resident who serves on a number of environmental commissions including: Chair, City of Berkeley Community Environmental Advisory Commission (10/95-present); Commissioner, Community Environmental Advisory Commission (9/91-present); Co-founder /Director, Citizens Opposing a Polluted Environment (8/88- present); and the West Berkeley Area Plan Committee (9/89-4/92). Mr. Caseber owns and operates a small appliance repair business in West Berkeley.
I believe that any one of these four people would well represent Berkeley's interests in this matter and would be able to contribute to the Task Force',, efforts. I share your desire for a productive partnership between our two cities, and 1 thank you again for inviting Berkeley to participate in this important matter.
Berkeley Citizen © 2003-2010 All Rights Reserved