The bottom, at several points in San Diego Bay, is contaminated (heavy metals, industrial leavings, et). This long-awaited cleanup was supposed to begin this month. However, at a recent community meeting we were told the cleanup is on hold, mainly because the City of San Diego has refused to sign on to a plan which has been approved by nearly every other involved party.
WE NEED YOU TO CONTACT YOUR CITY COUNCIL-PERSON. (See below.)
The issue and the history:
San Diego Bay was for many decades a dumping site for heavy metals and other toxic materials from shipyards, the Navy, the City of San Diego and SDGE. On March 14, 2012, the San Diego Water Board ordered multiple entities to clean 21 acres of contaminated sediment along the San Diego Bay by adopting a Cleanup and Abatement Order. The following entities were named in the Cleanup Order: BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, Campbell Industries, the City of San Diego, the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), the San Diego Unified Port District and the United States Navy.
Five years of mediation have resulted in a remedial action plan onto which most of the concerned parties have signed and agreed to fund, including BAE and NASSCO. However, after all of this hard work, and despite all the mediation, the City of San Diego has refused to sign onto the plan.
From the SD Clean Bay website http://www.sdcleanbay.com/ :
“Starting September 2013, the San Diego Bay Environmental Restoration Trust will begin a three year construction project removing sediment from the area and improving the quality of San Diego Bay. Regarding the south site, some of the responsible parties have committed to funding its share of future remediation costs, while others have refused to provide the necessary funding. Until all of the named dischargers in the south site commit to implementing the cleanup, it may not proceed on schedule.”
If the City of San Diego continues to refuse to participate, what will happen will be more litigation, which may end up costing more than participation – and may result in a legal ruling requiring participation anyway. Thus the taxpayers may well end up paying pay twice for the same result. Meanwhile, this much-needed cleanup will be delayed by several years.
What is needed right now is public pressure on City of San Diego Councilmembers. If you’re a city resident (and even if you’re not) and you care about diving in healthy local waters; if you eat fish, photograph fish or simply watch fish and want our bay to be a healthy nursery for those same fish; if you care about the many seabirds and marine mammals who forage for fish and crustaceans in the Bay; then please take a few minutes and email all of the City Councilmembers and the Acting Mayor. Tell them it’s time for them to stop stalling. The City of San Diego needs to sign onto - and help fund - the San Diego Bay Cleanup Action Plan.
Here's a list of San Diego City Council members (if you’re a City resident and don’t know your Councilmember, go to http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/ and enter your zip code)
If you want to call or snail-mail, see the document "SD City Council contact info" in Power Scuba's Files section under "More".)
Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner
Councilmember Kevin Faulconer
Council President/Acting Mayor Todd Gloria
Councilmember Myrtle Cole
Councilmember Mark Kersey
Councilmember Lorie Zapf
Councilmember Scott Sherman
Councilmember David Alvarez
Councilmember Marti Emerald