Thanks to Petaluma Health Care District and CEO, Daymon Doss, Petalumans were able to weigh in on a crucial issue for our town last night: health impacts of the proposed Dutra Asphalt plant at the gateway to our city – and Wine Country, 101 South. I say just don’t do it!

Amazingly different presentations from Drs. Weill and Brock Utne, Weill showing reports (from WHERE?) stating diesel soot has no health effects? All is groovy, said Dr. Weill. Even Bay Area Air Quality (BAAQMD) says no negative effects from the proposed “hi tech” plant.

Dr. Brock-Utne, a pediatrician, begged to differ. She spoke of the damage to lungs of children from diesel, from air pollution in general. Asthma counts way up to 22%! A child’s visit to the ER costs average $6,000 and then there is likely lifelong damage. Which is preventable by limiting the amounts of air pollution. For adults, this becomes COPD, chronic lung damage which is progressive, which is scary.

So – I’m fairly amazed the BAAQMD could give a pass to this project – but as was pointed out:
– Even the Dutra rep., Catherine Sutton Choate, admits there would be SOME escaped particulate matter (damage-causing PAH chemicals attached)
– the bigger culprit is likely additional diesel soot from a multitude of trucks used to deliver and pick up materials and asphalt
NO ONE HAS DOCUMENTED HOW MUCH POLLUTION WOULD COME TO PETALUMA from combined trucks and asphalt. So in what way could the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or BAAQMD report be complete?

All of this is like saying “this arsenic is only poisonous if you use more of it” without our even knowing the doses or how the poison affects the body.

As Dr. Brock-Utne remarked, we used to think a level of 60 particles (per million?) for lead was acceptable. Recently, Docs recommend a level of 5 or less – and likely NONE. If we are just now understanding how lead affects adults and children, shouldn’t we be protecting our lungs and those of our children from massive doses of diesel soot?

California recently passed a law requiring diesel trucks to install newer, better filters to reduce particulate matter from escape. Isn’t that because legislators found diesel soot to be damaging to people?

Really, time has passed for us to keep just growing for the sake of growing and look at how far we’ve gone toward ruining the earth by upsetting the natural balance of the elements. Climate change is beginning to get ugly. We have to reverse course! Take a look at Bill McKibben on Letterman and think about that – and do something to clean the air, not dirty it further. Please.