Air District reverses prior support for India Basin Development Project due to ‘unacceptable’ air pollution

India Basin Mixed Use Development Project artist’s rendering by Build SF

by Bradley Angel, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

San Francisco – In response to demands by Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice and Bayview Hunters Point residents, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has just sent a letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors stating that the air pollution that would be caused by the India Basin Mixed Use Development Project “is unacceptable.”

Build LLC’s plan is to build over 1,500 residential units (mostly expensive) along with commercial space on land that is currently contaminated and is adjacent to the radioactive and toxic contamination at the Hunters Point Shipyard Superfund Site.

The BAAQMD letter to the Board of Supervisors, dated Aug. 28, 2019, but just received by Greenaction, states in part:

“(A)ny increase in air pollution of the current disproportionate burden in eastern San Francisco is unacceptable. The Air District is concerned about the potential impact of the construction and operation of the Project.”

On Oct. 16, 2018, the Board of Supervisors voted to reject Greenaction’s appeal of the project despite the City’s own environmental impact report concluding that the project would cause significant, harmful and unavoidable air pollution during construction and operations, and that the air pollution could result in exceedances and violations of air quality standards.

The EIR also found that the project’s harmful impacts could not be reduced to less than significant even with mitigation. BAAQMD testified at the Oct. 16, 2018, hearing that the project was health protective, a false statement contradicted by the City’s own EIR.

India Basin Mixed Use Development Project location map

Greenaction held several meetings and communicated with BAAQMD repeatedly since October 2018, pointing out that BAAQMD testimony at the appeal hearing was factually incorrect and based on a failure to actually read the EIR – which they have now admitted. When Greenaction met with BAAQMD on Aug. 7, 2019, they agreed to write a new letter to the Board of Supervisors to clarify their position and raise concerns about the project’s air pollution impacts.

As BAAQMD wrote to the Board of Supervisors in this recent letter, “Bayview Hunters Point and other parts of eastern San Francisco experience higher PM2.5 levels than much of the region. The combination of higher pollution levels and poor health conditions led the Air District to highlight eastern San Francisco as an impacted community through our Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) Program.”

Greenaction and the Bayview Hunters Point Mothers and Fathers Committee are demanding that the Board of Supervisors rescind their approval of this dangerous project that would pollute and gentrify the community. Greenaction is however supportive of the City’s plans to clean up the contamination at the India Basin Shoreline Park, and will be working with residents to ensure the cleanup does not further pollute the community or the Bay.

“Now that the Air District has finally corrected their improper support of a project that would pollute and harm Bayview Hunters Point, it is time for the mayor and Board of Supervisors to rescind the City’s approval of this dangerous project,” said Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.

“It is a disgrace that the mayor, Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission all supported the project despite their own EIR documenting how dangerous the project would be. The City needs to start protecting its own residents instead of mega-developers polluting and gentrifying Bayview Hunters Point.”

Contact Bradley Angel, executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, at greenaction@greenaction.org. The letter from BAAQMD follows:

In this letter, the Bay Area Air Quality Monitoring District reverses its prior approval of the India Basin Mixed use Development Project, finding any increase in air pollution in Bayview Hunters Point “unacceptable.” (Click to enlarge.)