The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
September - October 2007
Help cut diesel pollution in West Contra Costa
The Contra Costa County Health Department's Asthma Prevention Program is working with the West County Toxics Coalition, the Neighborhood House of North Richmond and the Pacific Institute to address the problem of increased freight transportation and diesel pollution in the West County, and their impact on land use.
The major sources of diesel pollution are trucks, trains, and ships carrying freight to and through West County. The number of trucks, ships, and trains carrying products through West County neighborhoods may increase dramatically in the next few years due to projected increases of overseas imports into the Bay Area and local growth. This increase could impact our health, especially in minority and low-income communities in Richmond and near the Richmond Port, rail lines, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railyard, and freeways. A recent study estimates that already in West County, 40 times more diesel particulates are emitted per square mile than the state average and six times more than in the county as a whole. These particulates contribute to asthma and cardiovascular disease, and amount to 70% of all airborne cancer risk.
Through a series of workshops with community residents, the project sponsors want to identify areas where current and potential future increases in freight transportation and related activities may negatively impact community health, and propose solutions to prevent these impacts. Specifically, the project is designed to identify local land uses that may be negatively impacted by freight transportation such as open space being gobbled up by freight warehouses; parks, bike paths and walking trails being degraded due to increase noise; pollution and safety concerns; and traffic problems due to delays at rail crossings and clogged freeways.
This is a clear environmental-justice issue. The Sierra Club's West Contra Costa County Group fully supports this work and urges all readers to help on this issue. To complete a very brief phone survey that will help set the project's priorities, or for more information, call Lee Jones at (510)798-3322.
To work with the West County Group on these concerns, contact Chapter conservation manager or call (510) 848-0800, ext. 307
The first community workshop to begin identifying community concerns and solutions is Wed., Sep. 26, from 5:30 to 8 pm, at Hazel Hall of the Martin Luther King Community Center, 360 Harbor Way South in Richmond. A light dinner will be served.
© 2007 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
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