LBNL opens comment period for Richmond Bay Campus

The LBNL's Community Advisory Group met Monday night, and discussed plans for the proposed Richmond Bay Campus. (Photo by: Rachel Waldholz)

The LBNL's Community Advisory Group met Monday night, and discussed plans for the proposed Richmond Bay Campus. (Photo by: Rachel Waldholz)

What should the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) take into account as it begins the environmental review for its new Richmond Bay Campus? Wildlife and birds? Noise pollution and new traffic? These are question for Richmond residents, who have until February 4 to make suggestions.

Last January, LBNL chose Richmond as the preferred site for its second campus, which will consolidate several bioscience facilities now scattered throughout the region. Richmond aggressively sought the lab–which city officials hope will be an economic engine for the city–and won out over five other Bay Area cities. Development is slated to begin in 2014 at the earliest.

Earlier this month, LBNL began the scoping process for the new campus, during which it will decide what to include in the project’s Environmental Impact Report. The EIR will list the development’s potential environmental effects, covering everything from air and water quality to land use and light pollution. It will then propose strategies to mitigate those impacts. The public comment period on the scoping process offers residents the chance to weigh in on what the EIR should consider.

“Before we write the analysis, we go to the public and say, ‘What do you think should be in the analysis?’” said Sam Chapman, the lab’s manager of state and community relations.

The EIR will cover the lab’s Long Range Development Plan, which lays out a vision for the site through 2050, as well as the more immediate Phase I, which covers construction through 2018.

Residents can find the Notice of Preparation online—a 35-page document that lists all of the topics the lab plans to cover in the EIR. Anyone who wants to suggest additions or changes can comment online, via mail, or at a public meeting in City Council chambers on January 23. The public comment period ends February 4.

The lab’s staff hope to have a draft EIR ready by the end of spring, at which point the public will be invited to weigh in again.

At a meeting of LBNL’s Community Advisory Group on Monday night, member Elizabeth Stage, a Berkeley resident and Director of the Lawrence Hall of Science, said she was impressed by how thorough the draft scoping document is. “It looks like they’re trying to make the space better and more sustainable and for the future,” she said, adding that the document’s focus on issues “related to shoreline, marshland, open space, and anticipating water level rise … makes it a forward-looking plan.”

Plus, she said, the draft has that rarest quality among environmental review documents: “It’s readable.”

One Comment

  1. Everyone should watch this:

    The Bay Area Bio Lab & Synthetic Biology, False Solutions Part Two, Panel Discussion
    Convened by: Alliance for Humane Biotechnology, California BioSafety Alliance, California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day, Center for Environmental Health…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ynQfmC4h0M&feature=youtu.be

    QUOTES:

    “I worked for a start-up company in Davis, California; it was originally spun off of UC-Davis.“Did I think I was safe when I worked there?When I first started out I was a senior in college. I absolutely thought I was safe.I was told by my college professor’s, before I began working there, that as a scientist; that we had pretty much the safest job in the world. That if we ever got ill; that our brethren, our doctors.. everyone who… other biologist’s would do anything that they could. That the CDC would isolate it and they would try their best to cure it.I worked in two (2) projects; one of them was a biofungicide and the other one was a mosquito larvacide.Mosquito larvacide was my main project. The biofungicide was developed because the marketplace wants organic food and in order to produce organic foods we need pesticides and fungicides for organic foods that are certified organic. So…so the only way we can do this is to come up with fungi and bacteria to apply to your food in the field.The one we worked on was a cousin of anthrax. It can survive autoclaving; so it would maybe it will be able to survive your oven or your stovetop.Yeah… I thought I was safe. I thought I was safe because my teachers told me that; because the people I was working with were associated with the University of California-Davis, which had credibility. Because the research was associated with credibility and these people have PhD’s. I mean they have a higher education level than I.So… I definitely assumed I was absolutely safe.[Audience] But you got sick?Oh yeah… I got sick.[Audience] What happened?What happened? Briefly; I was at work one day on a Tuesday and I ended up in surgery in less than a week (scheduled for surgery). Sinus infection; unknown organism.Had surgery… started with the first one and ended up with four surgeries. Now a portion of my immune system is turned off. I have an acquired immune deficiency. It’s not the one everybody thinks about in the bay area.Where it came from; whether it’s spontaneous or whether it’s related to the actual employer… it’s an interesting question. That’s a question I have myself . ”

    AND

    “My particular field is actually regulated with FIFRA, ok, because I worked in pesticides. It’s Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodentcide Act. It’s considerably more specific than the EPA.There was no enforcement. There were tons of violations under what was recommended; what would actually be rights of the farm worker, but when it came to a laboratory worker; they violated left and right. There was no enforcement what-so-ever.”

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