Wonky Wednesday: 20,000 Bay Area Residents Call on Cargill to Do the Right Thing
Late last week, we jumped past the 20,000 mark in our campaign to tell Cargill “Don’t Pave My Bay!” Thank you for helping us pass this important milestone by sharing the website with your friends, sending us back printed petition forms from your workplace, congregations and neighborhoods, and forwarding our action alerts. This has truly been a grassroots community effort – and it is working!
Nearly five years ago, in response to news that Cargill Salt was shutting down their operations in Redwood City, Save The Bay sent a letter to Cargill CEO Greg Page, urging him to sell or donate their 1,400 acres of former salt ponds in Redwood City so that they could be included in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge and restored back to tidal marshes for the benefit of the Bay and the people and wildlife that depend on it.
Rather than take advantage of this incredible opportunity to build goodwill in the Bay Area, and do the right thing for the environment and local communities, Cargill teamed up with a luxury developer from Arizona to instead pave over these restorable salt ponds – proposing a new city of 12,000 houses for 30,000 people. Surrounded by a new three-mile long levee, this would have been the largest bay fill development in 50 years.
After a local and regional outcry, including pressure from over 150 elected officials, five neighboring cities, 50 environmental and community organizations, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, more than a dozen labor unions, and thousands of residents in Redwood City and throughout the Bay Area – Cargill was finally forced to withdraw their proposal this May.
Bay lovers gave a momentary sigh of relief that this initial proposal was in the can, but Cargill and developer DMB immediately initiated a costly legal effort to claim that key environmental protections that protect the Bay don’t apply to them, easing the way for a new bayfill proposal for the site.
Save The Bay’s supporters have been swift to respond, telling Cargill that the Bay’s restorable salt ponds are an unacceptable place for housing and development, and that Cargill should do the right thing and abandon their plans to fill the Bay, choosing instead to sell or donate these ponds so that we can continue our decades-long progress in restoring San Francisco Bay.
Have you signed the petition? Join us in urging Cargill CEO Greg Page to make Cargill’s legacy one of restoring the Bay, not filling it. Visit www.DontPaveMyBay.org to add your name and share the petition with your friends.
- Josh Sonnenfeld, Campaign Manager