Vallejo Council Delays Decision on Cement Project

The Vallejo, Calif., city council approved a resolution to reconsider a proposed cement plant and shipping terminal in south Vallejo by January 2018, reported Orcem California and Vallejo Marine Terminal (VMT) have six weeks to come up with a better description of the project and will be allowed to finish a final environmental impact report before the council makes a final decision.

“We’re basically punting it down the line a bit,” said City Attorney Claudia Quintana, describing Councilwoman Rozzana Verder-Aliga’s resolution. It passed on a 4-3 vote with council members Jess Malgapo, Pippin Dew-Costa and Hermie Sunga joining Verder-Aliga. Mayor Bob Sampayan and council members Robert McConnell and Katy Miessner were opposed.

Under a combined project, VMT would re-establish industrial uses on 32-acre site through the removal of a deteriorated timber wharf and construction of a modern deep-water terminal, while the Orcem California, Inc. component will involve the construction and operation of a “green” cement facility. Orcem would import most of the raw materials it uses via ships docking at the proposed VMT wharf.

The project advanced through the planning process relatively quietly until October 2015 when hundreds of residents packed hearings on a draft environmental study. Critics said the project would be an “environmental nightmare.” Proponents said it would create jobs and bring economic vitality to the city. Fast-forward to March 2017, and the city’s planning commission rejected the project citing concerns about the its environmental impact on the neighborhood as well as the industrial look of the waterfront. Orcem appealed the decision.

Verder-Aliga said during last week’s meeting that there were too many unanswered questions and that the council needed more information before making a final decision. Orcem officials posted a thank you on their Facebook page to the four council members that approved the resolution “for seeking facts over fear to make an informed decision.”

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