The project to demolish the 1868 General Mills flour mill on the banks of the Napa River in order to build a transpacific port and cement plant is still alive. While there is huge, organized opposition, there are four Vallejo City Councilmembers still committed to approving it. Most people in the Napa Valley don’t care because they think the negative environmental impacts won’t reach them over the County line. Congressman Mike Thompson even calls it a “local issue.” That is not quite true. The Draft Environmental Impact Report describes several trains 77 cars long traveling each week on the nearly abandoned rail line up from Vallejo into Napa County through American Canyon and Jameson Canyon to link up in Cordelia. Although the project proponents are adjusting the numbers in hopes that they can pretend that the impacts are not so bad, at this point the project description says that the trains will run all hours of the day blocking intersections, blasting their warning horns and holding up traffic along the way. Then multiply that impact by four because the Draft Environmental Impact Report covers only 25% of the capacity of the port. It is not just the noise, dust, dirt and safety concerns, the project proponents even admit that the trains will depress the value of homes along the tracks. In response to citizen concerns, an Environmental Justice Report was done including an analysis of a band 2,000 feet wide along the railroad tracks … in Vallejo only … and concluded…

“The activities associated with manufacturing industries and railroad transportation which generate noise and emissions can depress residential real estate values in close proximity….”

Environmental Justice Amendment to the DEIR, February 2017

Mike Thompson was involved for several years in the Mare Island Economic Development Committee, a secret group working to bring heavy industry and huge transpacific freighters back into the lower Napa River. Although MISEDC has supposedly been disbanded, their plan lingers on in the pending approvals of the cement plant by the three Vallejo City Councilmembers who were participants in MISEDC. If the MISEDC Plan succeeds, freight trains rumbling through American Canyon could make your lives unbearable and your property values tanking. If you are concerned about the quality of life in American Canyon, please let Mike Thompson know that the cement plant and transpacific port are regional issues and to please use his influence to stop this environmental madness. Mike is currently lobbying in DC for funding to increase the river dredging depth from small craft draft (less than 15’) to transpacific freighter draft (more than 40’) so he is still involved. Mike’s Napa office is 707-226-9898.

Judy Irvin

Vallejo

Editor's Note: The American Canyon Eagle asked Congressman Mike Thompson for a response and he sent the following:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter in the paper about my involvement in Vallejo planning matters.

I have worked hard throughout my career to secure funding for dredging in our region where appropriate, including the Napa River, Noyo Harbor, Humboldt Bay, Crescent City Harbor and the Mare Island Strait. I continue to help secure federal resources to dredge the Mare Island Strait to support the many existing entities who rely on it including the United States Coast Guard, Cal Maritime Academy and the many businesses operating on Mare Island.

Regarding the issue of the proposed cement plant, this is a local planning issue before the Vallejo City Council and not an issue before the United States Congress.

Mike Thompson

Member of Congress

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