Vallejo or Napa — whose river?

Vallejo or Napa — whose river?

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Napa's neighbor to the south is poised to make a terrible mistake that could ruin the Napa River for decades.

Vallejo's planning commission will vote in June on whether to approve a 65-year permit for a cement factory on the banks of the Napa River. The factory, being proposed by a company from Ireland called Ecocem/ORCEM, will import industrial waste from steel mills in Asia to be ground into cement on the banks of the Napa River. Huge ships -- some of the largest on the bay -- will offload the waste material and store it alongside mountains of powdered cement, gypsum and limestone at the river's edge.

These hazardous materials -- in open-air piles exposed to wind and rain -- will make their way into the Napa River.

How do we know this will happen? Just look at Ecocem's own corporate video on YouTube ("Ecocem -- the green cement") and you'll see its powdered product spilling from ships and trucks as it's moved about their facility in Europe. Or use Google to get a satellite view of Ecocem's factories in Ireland, France and the Netherlands and you'll see grim pictures of dust-covered facilities and mountains of dust exposed to the elements.

There is only one way to keep the Napa River free from the damage Vallejo's cement factory will cause. Vallejo's planning commission must hear from its neighbor to the north. Napa must remind Vallejo's politicians that the Napa River is not theirs to destroy.

Peter Brooks


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