Public speaks to regional water board about Navy concerns

by Humberto Tessada, Environmental Health Coalition

fter an unprecedented 10-hour public hearing, the Regional Water Quality Control Board deferred taking necessary action to allow two additional nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to be located in San Diego Bay.

At a public hearing, the Board heard more than 60 people testify about their concerns about the impact of the nuclear home-porting project. Issues raised included the danger of nuclear power so close to densely populated areas, lack of emergency plans, lack of polluted runoff protection from vessels and piers, increases in air pollution, impacts to recreational uses, and a continuing loss of habitat for marine life in San Diego Bay. The Board also expressed concern that the Navy's plan would leave unexploded ordnance and munitions in the bay.

Many residents from San Diego, Coronado, Barrio Logan and Sherman Heights were on hand, holding signs that read "Regional Board, A Clean and Safe San Diego Bay is up to you." Environmental organization support was also strong for changes to the project. Providing testimony about the environmental impacts were Environmental Health Coalition, Peace Resource Center San Diego Audubon Society, San Diego Surfrider, San Diego Baykeeper, and the Sierra Club.

Although the Regional Board has closed the public hearing and will continue with their deliberation at their next meeting on June 14th, we encourage the public to write them and ask that they require emergency planning and protection for water quality for the Navy's plan. Write to: Chairperson Wayne Baglin and Board Members, San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, 9771 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite A, San Diego, CA 92124. Anyone interested in attending should email, or call the Environmental Health Coalition at (619) 235-0281.

Environmental Health Coalition is one of the oldest and most effective grass-roots organizations in the United States, using social change strategies to achieve environmental justice. EHC is dedicated to the prevention and cleanup of toxic pollution threatening our health, communities, and the environment. They promote environmental justice, monitor government and industry actions that cause pollution, educate communities about toxic hazards and toxic use reduction, and empower the public to join the cause.