Speier blasts EPA ruling in favor of saltworks development

Cargill proposed this housing development in 2009. Plans were later withdrawn in the face of opposition by a variety of government agencies.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Congresswoman Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, yesterday (March 12) ripped into the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that has the potential to bring back a controversial Redwood City housing development.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that the waters in the salt ponds are not part of the San Francisco Bay, and is therefore not subject to federal regulatory agencies.

The EPA’s ruling potentially opens up the ability for Cargill Corp., which owns the salt ponds, to submit a development plan to the city. In 2012 the company pulled its proposal to build 12,000 homes.

Speier yesterday lambasted the EPA’s ruling on the House floor, saying that a previous report by regional EPA experts had said that the salt ponds are US waters, since the ponds were once part of navigable waters in the Bay. The full draft report can be found at https://bit.ly/2UzrwWh.

“I realize that this (presidential) administration struggles to recognize any body of water that is not a murky scum filled swamp,” Speier said. “But I refuse to let this 180 degree political flip flop occur without public disclosure.”

When Cargill rescinded it’s original application, DMB Associates, the company hired to develop the ponds, said that it intended to ask the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to declare whether the agencies had jurisdiction over the property. Both have since ruled that the salt ponds are not part of the Bay.

The DMB website says that “a new plan is in the works,” while the Reimagine Saltworks website is “asking for a broad and inclusive outreach process to inform out vision on possible outcomes and the opportunities … presented by this site.”

1 Comment

  1. It sounds more like a smear campaign against the Trump administration. That is, the fate of the baylands sits in state and _local_ control! Doesn’t that simuplify the process.

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