Cargill and DMB announce new effort to build in the Bay. As we warned in December, Cargill and developer partner DMB have colluded with the Trump Administration to advance its anti-environment agenda. EPA Administrator Wheeler has issued a jurisdictional determination that the federal Clean Water Act no longer protects Cargill’s salt ponds in Redwood City.
The EPA’s decision is contrary to the law and the facts – EPA’s detailed 2016 review of the salt ponds concluded 1,270 acres of the ponds are in fact “waters of the United States” and deserve the Clean Water Act’s legal protection against filling. U.S. Representative Jackie Speier has publicly released the 2016 review into the Congressional Record – its detailed and thorough analysis is a stark contrast with Wheeler’s decision.
Watch Rep. Speier’s Congressional floor speech.
Cargill and DMB have already announced a new development proposal that will “re-imagine Saltworks.” A decade ago, they proposed building 12,000 luxury homes in the Bay for 25,000 people, but after enormous local and regional opposition to the project’s environmental damage, traffic and other impacts, the city council forced DMB to withdraw the plan in 2012.
Mayor Ian Bain says now the community will oppose new development on the ponds:
“The community wants to see the site restored to wetlands and there’s close to zero appetite for another housing proposal, “Bain said. “The site is not zoned for housing, I don’t want to see it rezoned and that’s still my position. What I would like to happen is I’d like to see Cargill donate or sell the land to a group that would restore it to wetlands.”
Here’s what you need to know, right now. We will continue to keep you informed on how you can take action to prevent new building in the Bay.
Cargill and DMB still face huge barriers to new development on the salt ponds
Redwood City zoning and land use designations prohibit development on those ponds, and there’s no appetite in the city for making these types of changes.
California laws protect water, wetlands, and the wildlife that currently use those ponds as critical habitat.
Hundreds of local regional, state and federal leaders are on record over the last decade opposing development on Bay salt ponds, and California’s Governor and Legislature are on record opposing Trump Administration efforts to weaken the Clean Water Act.
EPA’s new ruling of “no jurisdiction” is contrary to the law and the facts.
This determination directly contradicts the conclusion of an extensive review and recommendation from EPA Region 9 in 2016, which found that the entire Saltworks site is actually within the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
The Trump Administration’s erroneous conclusion rewards a private developer’s political intervention to override environmental protection and public interest. It’s a terrible precedent that threatens San Francisco Bay water quality and wetlands and weakens the Clean Water Act.
DMB and Cargill colluded with the Trump Administration
These companies are embracing and abetting the Trump Administration’s attacks on the Clean Water Act, federal pollution regulations and enforcement.
The Trump agenda is strongly opposed in the Bay Area and California. Cargill and DMB have hurt their Bay Area business – not helped it – by attacking the nation’s fundamental water pollution law and undermining protections for San Francisco Bay,
These companies also have alienated Redwood City and Bay Area residents and elected officials, whose approval would be needed for any development on Bay salt ponds.
Recent press coverage on this issue includes:
San Mateo Daily JournalMercury NewsTo take action on this issue, sign our petition to the City Council of Redwood City
As Executive Director of Save The Bay since 1998, David Lewis has been San Francisco Bay's top advocate for more than a decade. David was born and raised in the Bay Area, and prior to joining Save The Bay, he devoted 14 years to work for nuclear arms control in Washington, D.C., including in the U.S. Senate, and also worked on election campaigns across the country. He holds a B.A. in Politics and American Studies from Princeton University and is still trying to catch up to his daughters on the ski slopes.