At least two East Bay residents will testify later this month on two bills that would transform regulation of toxic waste sites.
Inspired by ongoing events at Campus Bay, a hazardous waste site in Richmond proposed as the grounds for a 1,330-unit housing development, the measures were written by Assemblymember Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley-Richmond.
The measures, designated Assembly Bills 1360 and 1546, go before the Assembly’s Committee of Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials on April 23.
Sherry Padgett, an outspoken critic of events at Campus Bay and the adjacent UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station, said she has been invited to testify, along with Contra Costa County Public Health Director Wendel Brunner.
Brunner has expressed concerns about the way demolitions were handled on the site under the aegis of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and plans to build housing atop 350,000 cubic yards of buried industrial waste at Campus Bay.
A hearing on the site conducted by Hancock and Assembly Rules Committee Chair Cindy Montanez last year ended with the water board surrendering jurisdiction over most of the site to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The handover came after the water board’s top official acknowledged his agency didn’t have a toxicologist on its staff. DTSC is a statewide agency well-staffed with toxicologists and other experts.
“I am trying to end the practice of agency-shopping,” Hancock said.
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