Tag Archives: Environment

Berkeley asphalt plant emissions dangerous, say residents

Residents allege that the Lehigh Hanson asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in West Berkeley is emitting dangerous fumes. Photo: Charles Siler
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A small group of West Berkeley homeowners gathered at City Hall on Monday this week to submit a Public Record Act request, claiming the Berkeley Asphalt & Ready Mix plant on Virginia Street has been violating its use permit by emitting excessive odors and noise.

The company, owned by Texas-based Lehigh Hanson, operates an asphalt plant at 699 Virginia St. in the Oceanview area. The group of residents, who call themselves Oceanview Neighborhood Action, say the plant is constantly emitting noxious fumes, to the point that they can’t go outside or leave their windows open.

“It smells like sulfur most days, like burnt sand,” said Kate Stepanski, a resident of the neighborhood. “It’s making people sick and it’s a public hazard — it’s irresponsible.”  … Continue reading »

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‘You’re not with it if you’re not air drying your clothes!’

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On Wednesday a gigantic clothesline dangled over Berkeley’s Civic Center Park. T-shirts, sweaters, jeans, and all kinds of clothing swayed in the wind as members of Rising Sun Energy Center‘s California Youth Energy Services (CYES) program proudly explained the work they’ve been doing to make Berkeley’s community more sustainable.

“Really what this is is a call to action,” said Jodi Pincus, executive director of the Berkeley-based Rising Sun Energy Center. “You may be asking, how does [climate change] relate to air drying my clothes? Clothes dryers are the second largest energy hog appliance in the home, and CO2 emissions from a single household can amount to nearly 23,000 pounds of CO2 per year. It is up to us to do something.” … Continue reading »

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Big changes needed to meet 2020 emissions goals

Over 800 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (yellow dots) have been installed in Berkeley since 2000. Solar hot water systems (red dots) have also increased 
significantly. See the full map here.
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Berkeley is making progress but still has a long way to go to meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, according to a report set to be presented Tuesday night at 5:30 to the City Council. (A live stream of the meeting will be available here.)

In June 2009, the council adopted the Climate Action Plan as a guide for policy decisions to help the community significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years. The goal is to reach 33% below normal levels by 2020, and 80% below normal levels by 2050.

The plan sets out strategies to reduce emissions, improve public health, drive the creation of green jobs and, not least of all, save money due to reduced energy use.

It won’t be easy. According to the staff report, Berkeley must decrease its community-wide emissions by more than 200,000 metrics tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 35,000 passenger vehicles from the road. (Berkeley’s current vehicle population is about 56,000.) … Continue reading »

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