Up-for-re-election City Councilman Marty Mariscal wrote a guest commentary in the Santa Maria Times on September 24, 2006, claiming that the diluent-contaminated Guadalupe Dunes soil is "safe".
Lynn Melville wrote a guest commentary in rebuttal which the Santa Maria Times refused to print. (See Tin Soldier post SM TIMES BLACKOUT ON CANCEROUS GUADALUPE SOIL) For some reason, the Times doesn't want the residents of Santa Maria to know the truth.
Melville's commentary details quotes from the 1999 Coastal Commission report:
"Diluent contains several compounds (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylene and Xylene, aka BTEX) that are known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm." (emphasis added)
"Guadalupe oil field encompasses approximately 3,000 acres . . . 60 percent of which is now believed to be contaminated with diluent." (emphasis added)
In her commentary, Melville challenges Marty Mariscal to prove that the cancer-causing chemicals have been removed from the Guadalupe Dunes soil.
The Melville commentary which the Times refused to publish then details the fact that "NHIS" ("Non-Hazardous Hydrocarbon Impacted Soil") which Mariscal (and also up-for-re-election Alice Patino) have touted as safe, is nothing more than petroleum that has been removed from the soil by a heat process (steam). This removes the hydrocarbons.
However, the heat process does not remove cancer-causing diluent. It's all still sitting there in the Guadalupe Dunes soil, waiting to be transferred to our landfill.
When the landfill leaks (see Tin Soldier post SM LANDFILL: Plastic Liners Always Leak), our water supply will be contaminated.
At that point, the citizens will be stuck with the clean-up bill. Melville notes in her commentary that the current city council has been warned by the Regional Water Quality Control Board that the board will hold the City of Santa Maria completely liable for any future groundwater liability as a result of the diluent-contaminated soil being transferred to the landfill.
And oh, yes, there's the issue of the contract between the City of Santa Maria and Chevron. Melville states that there's that standard 'hold harmless' clause in there, where the city holds Chevron harmless for any future liability either.
What a deal. Chevron gives Santa Maria $28 million (of which the city will net only $16 million after costs) -- and the citizens get to pay for the millions (billions?) of dollars in clean-up later.
Remember to vote November 7th for the candidate you feel will best represent the interests of the residents of Santa Maria.