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Environmental Impacts

Mare Island is part of the 22,000-acre San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is a favorite resting place along the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds. The refuge is home to the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, and hosts a huge variety of birds, including belted kingfishers, white-tailed kites, northern harriers, white pelicans curlews, plovers, and many species of ducks and geese. The Mare Island Straight is also home to cavorting harbor seals and salmon, sturgeon and other species of fish.

Damage to Waterways, Water Quality, Marine and Bayshore Habitats

The Bechtel-Shell LNG gas and power plants would require extensive and constant dredging at the mouth of the Napa River to create clearance and maintain the turning basin for the 950 foot-long LNG tankers (thatís the length of three football fields!). Dredging will upset sediments, heavy metals and toxins that have been safely trapped in the stable silt for up to 150 years. This would contaminate the environment and potentially poison the sensitive bayshore ecosystem, affecting fisheries and killing wildlife. Port of Oakland: Environmental Impacts from Dredging

Destruction of the Pinole Shoal

In order for Bechtel-Shellís huge LNG tankers to be able to travel into Mare Island, they would have destroy ten miles of the Pinole Shoal. The Pinole Shoal is a major structure of the San Pablo Bay, and has long been a topic of concern to environmental groups, who have fought for years to prevent its destruction by corporate interests seeking access to inland waterways.

Tanker Ballast Water Carries Invasive Species

Foreign species invasion from ship ballast water is a huge problem in U.S. waters, and threatens the U.S. marine ecosystem. The U.S. is working to implement regulations that would require ships to transfer their ballast water offshore before entering U.S. harbors. While this will lessen the quantity of foreign species brought into the Bay, no transfer is complete -- foreign ballast water and the species it contains would still make their way into our local waters.

The LNG tankers Bechtel-Shell would use to transport LNG from Asia to Vallejo would contain ballast water to help balance the load of fuel. Ballast water from Bechtel-Shellís LNG tankers could translate into huge costs for Vallejo in the future. For example, Contra Costa County Water District currently budgets millions of dollars every year to remove the non-native Asian Crab that traveled to the Bay in ballast water and has now taken over the ecosystem.

Related Links:
SF Chronicle, Former U.S. bases being converted into wildlife refuges, October 17, 2002

© 2002 maggdog communications
Photos courtesy of Michael Halberstadt, Joyce Scharf and Friends of VallejoCPR
Page Last Updated Jan 8, 2003