USA: Ecocem plans face local opposition

USA: Ecocem plans face local opposition
Published: 13 October 2015


Irish manufacturer Ecocem’s plans for a EUR45m (US$50m) grinding works in California have met with opposition from locals concerned about the environmental impact of the plant.

Ecocem has filed an application with the City of Vallejo to repurpose a former flour milling site to a US$30m grinding plant which would make it the group’s first venture in the US. Under subsidiary Orcem California, the facility will include silos and truck/rail loading facilities. The project also includes the Vallejo Marine Terminal, which is located at the base of Vallejo, just inside San Francisco Bay.

However, locals are objecting to the plan, saying that the facility will lead to 300 truck journeys a day through a residential neighbourhood, thereby increasing diesel and dust emissions in the area. One activist, Peter Brooks, pointed out that 300, 18-wheel trucks will pass through the neighbourhood, 24 hours a day, every day. “That’s every six to 10 minutes, there will be no way that people can tolerate that,” the Irish Times quoted him as saying.

Opponents also argue that the development will result in 40,000t ships being docked at the city’s bay for six days a week unloading the slag to be used at the grinding works.

Residents gathered in the Vallejo City Hall Council Chambers on Wednesday night to respond to a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) about the project. A protest was also held outside the JFK Library with opponents handing out information and rallying against Orcem’s informational meeting inside the library.

Once the Draft EIR public comment period closes on 2 November, a formal EIR will be released with all the comments and questions submitted from community members. The EIR will then be sent to the city’s Planning Commission for review.