Council Silent on 'Nonaction' Against
Devona Walker, Berkeley Daily Planet, February 20, 2002
City Is Not Taking Action against University over Expansion Plans
In closed session yesterday the city sealed the lid on
a possible lawsuit against University of California Berkeley's
plan to put a parking structure and offices on Berkeley's southside.
But perhaps more importantly, it sealed the details of that closed session
meeting by further deciding not to report on it -- disallowing councilmembers
to speak about what took place behind closed doors.
The proposed construction has been protested by residents
living near the northeast quadrant of the campus, claiming the EIR originally
drafted for the project failed to address important environmental impacts
of the construction and the new buildings.
Marie Felde, director of media relations for UC Berkeley,
was unavailable yesterday but in the past had denied deficiencies in
the EIR. University officials extended the public comment period
well beyond state requirements Felde said. Approximately ten minutes before closing those doors,
Council heard from some 15 or so residents all pleading for the city
to move forward with the lawsuit.
Local activist L A Wood stood before City Council and
told them that if they did not vote to proceed with the lawsuit citizens
would not only remember but would also make them regret their decision.
Worthington said Council's decision shields certain members
from facing angry constituents who wanted them to take a stand against
"With them choosing not to report out, I can't tell
you how I voted or how anyone else voted without violating that decree.
Some people on council don't want others to know how they voted,"
Worthington said. "The average citizen will not know how their
representative votes but wealthy companies sure can."
Worthington said the law does not require the city to
disclose what happens in closed discussion unless an action is taken
but that it does not prevent Council from doing so either. He also stated
that he has historically argued in favor of disclosing as much information
as possible to no avail. "Council is not required to report what happens in
closed session unless it takes action. We are not reporting on what
happened in closed session today because no action was taken." Worthington pointed to a prior closed session meeting
where a large corporation who had contributed to the re-election campaign
of a councilmember was quoted in the Daily Planet as saying his matter
was voted down unanimously. "Clearly someone went back and told
him. So this large corporation is allowed access and the public isn't,"
The City Attorney would not say whether this "nonaction"
gives the city the option of continuing the suit later.
Town Prepares to Battle University over
Pam Reynolds, Berkeley Daily Planet, October 5, 2001
University s Proposed Growth Troubles City's Residents
When Jim Sharp moved into his home 13 years ago, its location
two blocks from the UC Berkeley campus was part of its charm. Times
have changed. Now his house is only one block from campus, and he speaks
of the "blight" that university expansion
brings to his neighborhood.
Sharp has been one of the most vocal critics of UC Berkeley's
plan to expand and renovate several buildings on the northeast corner
of campus, called the Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Project.
At the urging of Sharp and other community members, the Berkeley City
Council decided Thursday to hire a lawyer to advise them on challenging
the university's draft Environmental Impact Report for the project.
The NEQSS project plans to replace seismically unstable
Stanley Hall and Davis Hall North with larger facilities, and add a
new building next to Soda Hall. The construction, planned for 2002 to
2005, would add 244,000 square feet and 400 new employees to the area. Community opponents to the project claimed that the draft
EIR fails to address important environmental impacts of the construction
and the new buildings.
Marie Felde, director of media relations for UC Berkeley,
denied that the draft Environmental Impact Report is deficient in the
areas suggested. "We have worked very hard to address the potential
impacts that the community has raised," she said, "including
extending the public comment period well beyond what is required by
The new buildings will house offices, lab and teaching
space, including portions of the new Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology
and Quantitative Biomedical Research, a partnership with UC San Francisco,
UC Santa Cruz, and corporations such as Chiron in Emeryville.
New labs cause concern
The fact that the buildings will house science facilities,
especially state-of-the-art new biotech research labs, is a cause for
concern for many residents. Pam Sihvola, co-chair of the Committee to
Minimize Toxic Waste, cited concerns that the buildings are too near
the Hayward Earthquake Fault, "There is a very, very real danger,"
she said, "I think the whole area should not be used for any kind
of building and certainly not for operations using hazardous and radioactive
L A Wood, a commissioner on the Community Environmental
Advisory Commission, is convinced that the new buildings will house
hazardous and radioactive experiments performed by the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory. He referred to a "stealth lab" of LBNL
operations performed on campus that are not governed by university and
state regulations, and expressed concern that LBNL would be "coming
down to Stanley Hall, making a mega-radiation complex like you couldn't
imagine." Wood wants the university to disclose exactly what the
new facilities would be used for, how much space would be occupied by
LBNL, and what chemicals and radioisotopes would be in use.
What Wood, Sihvola and others would really like to see
is research labs using hazardous or radioactive materials relocated
to remote facilities, away from urban and residential areas.
Only 9 percent LBNL on campus. Rich McClure, a Facilities Planner at Lawrence Berkeley
National Lab said LBNL has no plans to have significant facilities in
the new buildings. Currently 9 percent of lab space is on the university
campus, mostly in Donner and Calvin Labs.
Many of the opponents of the northeast quadrant expansion
were also involved in the outcry against LBNL's National Tritium Labeling
Facility, which will close in December.
Another major concern for project opponents is the size
of the new facilities, which some neighbors said will strain an area
already suffering from traffic congestion and noise problems. Sharp
said that one neighbor wears earplugs and earmuffs to cut out the noise
of current construction projects on Hearst Avenue.
Mayor Shirley Dean noted that the NEQSS construction proposal
is "one of the biggest projects that has come before the council,
and there is rightfully some nervousness about it." "We need to be very, very careful," she said,
"because of the size of this project, and because of things we
hear are waiting around the corner."
One of those things is "Tidal Wave II," the
influx of 4,000 more students plus associated faculty and staff the
university expects to see in the coming decade.
University expansion has been a sore point in Berkeley
for decades. Sharp, however, doesn't think this is just another one
of the university's growing pains. "This is different," he
said. "It's lots more industrial research and development, it's
like part of the university morphing into an industrial park."
Wood agreed. "I believe what they want to build toward
is more like a biotech industrial complex," he said, "I believe
they've lost sight of the students."
Some call for legislative action. The expansion project has led some opponents to advocate
that the city seek state legislative action to block further university
growth, as was done in San Francisco.
That is something the city is talking about, Dean commented,
but no action has been taken in that direction. "I think the problem is, the campus is maxed out
- if it grows, the city shrinks."
"There are some people hoping the city of Berkeley
would lead other cities, who are impacted by institutional growth,"
said Sharp, who supports legislative restrictions on university expansion. Sharp also suggested that the city needs to better monitor
university impacts on city services, and reassess whether enough money
is being collected for services the city provides for the campus. He
proposed a neighborhood mitigation fund to compensate areas impacted
by university growth, and more discussion of the livability of neighboring
areas. "I'm hoping this is a wake-up call that we're hearing
from the council," said Sharp, "but time will tell."
A spokesperson for the city attorney's office noted
that the plan to hire outside counsel is still in its initial stages,
and was unable to say who would be hired or what issues that person
would be addressing.
Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Project (NEQSS)
1990 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP)
Physical and Environmental Planning Office
1 A&E Building (1382)
University of California, Berkeley CA 94720-1382
Re: Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Projects and 1990
Long Range Development Plan Amendment, Draft Environmental Report (June
2001) for the following Building Projects: Stanley Hall Replacement
Building (SHRB), Davis Hall North Replacement Building (DHNRB), Soda
Hall II New Development, Cory Hall Renovations, Navel Architecture Building
(NAB) Seismic Retrofit, Davis Hall South (New Davis Hall) Seismic Retrofit
and Lower Hearst Parking Structure. State Clearinghouse # 2001022038
Dear Ms. Lawrence:
Thank you for the opportunity to make comments on the University of
California’s Northeast Quadrant Science and Safety Project (NEQSS).
It first should be noted that this project is comprised of several large
projects and that each individual project should have its own environmental
review. In fact, it appears that this project, NEQSS, is the largest
project ever undertaken by the University, under a single construction
However, it seems as though this project is being purposefully fast
tracked so as to bypass both the University’s New Century Plan
(NCP) and the new Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) of the Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). This results in a grossly incomplete
NEQSS review, which fails to analyze or even recognize the fact that,
geographically, LBNL and its chemical, radiological and nuclear labs
constitute a major part of the University’s northeast quadrant.
Consequently, this current project should not proceed isolated from
the University’s New Century Plan and LBNL’s LRDP because
attempting to consider the NEQSS project separately from the UC’s
NCP and LBNL’s LRDP would be improper project segmentation (“piecemealing”)
in violation of both CEQA and the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA). Having said this, please consider the following:
Geology, Soils and Seismicity
The majority of chemicals transported to the University’s Hazardous
Waste Handling Facility are generated in the northeast part of the central
campus, close to Stanley Hall. Hence, the northeast quadrant is the
University’s Chemical Quadrant. This area, around Stanley Hall
is already highly congested with a combination of pedestrians, campus
vehicular traffic and bicyclists. Nearby academic and administrative
buildings, which include classrooms and lecture halls filled with students,
create a very high daytime population. This already existing large number
of people using the area around Stanley Hall would increase both conflicts
created by congestion and possible exposures to an accidental release
In 1994 the Stanley Hall site was part of an environmental evaluation
for a replacement hazardous waste facility on the campus. In the review
document (Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Environment, Health
and Safety Replacement Facility, State Clearinghouse #93091039), it
was stated that in the event of a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault,
the building (Stanley Hall) could be subjected to violent ground shaking
(p. 6-19). This is one of the central reasons why the Stanley Hall site
was rejected as a viable alternate location.
The current NEQSS environmental review fails to acknowledge this very
critical fact. The enclosed EIP Associates’ map clearly shows
that portions of both the existing Stanley Hall, and Department of Energy
(DOE)/ LBNL’s Donner Laboratory are within the bounds of the Alquist-Priolo
Fault-Rupture Hazard Zone of the Hayward Fault. (See attachment 1).
The Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Act was adopted in 1973. The act states
that “cities and counties (such as Berkeley and Alameda county)
affected by zones must regulate certain development projects within
the zones. They must withhold development permits for sites within the
zones until geologic investigations demonstrate that the sites are not
threatened by surface displacement from future faulting.” It appears
that no such required geologic investigations were included in the draft
The San Francisco Chronicle article (June 27, 2001) titled Shaky Ground,
which describes the University’s plans regarding the 100 million
dollar Memorial Stadium retrofit, states: “experts interviewed
at the State Seismic Safety Commission and Division of Mines and Geology
said they knew of no serious efforts to withstand the tremendous force
of the earth ripping apart. No one knows how much the Hayward Fault
would tear. The ground on one side of a fissure in the 1992 Landers
quake in the Mojave Desert jumped 21 feet relative to the other side.”
A recent Daily Californian article (July 27, 2001) subtitled Volatile
Chemicals, Delicate Light Fixtures Potential Hazards states the following:
At UC Berkeley “labs compose thirty percent of the campus. In
the Northridge Earthquake there was a lot of damage at Cal State Northridge...in
the chemistry buildings, some of the chemicals reacted with each other
and started fires.” Where in the draft EIR is the detailed review
and hazard analysis for the inevitable earthquake, “the BIG ONE”
on the Hayward Fault, and the evaluation relating to the potential for
a chemical firestorm?
Stanley Hall (and Donner Laboratory next door) should be decommissioned
and no replacement facilities should be located at the site given the
potential for a catastrophic earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The impact
of such an event would go far beyond the central campus and would be
horrific enough to manage, without the added threat of chemical and
radioactive releases from the proposed development and activities at
Stanley Hall, other NEQSS building projects and existing central campus
Hazards and Hazardous Materials
During the 50 years of operations at Stanley Hall, (according to the
draft EIR) radionuclides were used in its laboratories. The final EIR
for NEQSS should list the inventory of all the radioisotopes and hazardous
chemicals that have been used in Stanley Hall, during its life time,
as well as all other buildings under consideration in the NEQSS project
(i.e., Davis Hall North, Cory Hall, Soda Hall, Naval Architecture Building
and Davis Hall South). In addition, a complete Hazardous Materials Work
Plan should be provided for identifying the degree of contamination
in the many ducts, fume hoods, glove boxes, and exhaust systems of the
various laboratories as well as for the safe removal of the contaminated
equipment. The Stanley Hall Replacement Building would also require
the removal of 101,000 cubic yards of earth and Davis Hall another 66,000
cubic yards. The Hazardous Materials Work Plan and site characterizations
should include comprehensive soil and groundwater testing to determine
the degree of contamination at all NEQSS sites. Disposal options should
also be outlined for each site.
The Work Plan should require agency (California Department of Health
Services and California Department of Toxic Substances Control) and
public review prior to the commencement of any demolition. As stated
above, the area around Stanley Hall is already highly congested. From
a transportation point of view, the movement of hazardous and radioactive
waste is problematic given that the proposed Stanley Hall is located
next to the East entrance of the central campus and has inferior transit
accessibility. The draft EIR fails to evaluate the many problems related
to the movement of hazardous and radioactive materials and waste to
and from the Stanley Hall area.
The proposed replacement of Stanley Hall is about 10 stories high, plus
an additional two stories for cooling towers. At 285,000 square feet,
it is more than 4 times the size of the existing building. This large
increase in size will also mean increases in the use and storage of
hazardous chemicals, radionuclides and nuclear materials (sources) at
the site. The final EIR should list the inventory of all the radioisotopes
and hazardous chemicals proposed to be used and stored in the new Stanley
Hall as well as in all the other buildings under consideration in the
It should be noted that the Stanley Hall is located next door to DOE/LBNL’s
Donner Laboratory and close to the Melvin Calvin Laboratory, all of
which use radioactive materials such as: Tritium (H-3), Carbon-14, Phosphorus-32,
Sulfur-35, and Iodine-125, etc. as part of their research work. The
draft EIR does not describe methods for capturing radionuclides not
consumed in the experiments in laboratories at Stanley Hall, Davis Hall
North, etc. The draft NEQSS EIR also fails to address the cumulative
impacts from all the chemicals and radioisotopes used at the various
existing and proposed campus laboratories within the northeast Chemical
Quadrant. A serious shortcoming of this draft EIR is its complete failure
to address issues related to radioactive waste generation, treatment,
storage, emissions and disposal.
The draft EIR fails to describe in detail any of the research activities
proposed for the first three floors (basement level) of Stanley Hall
reserved for “imaging” and NMR’s. What types of imaging
are involved in advanced medical imaging technologies? Do they include
positron emission tomography, single photon emission computed tomography,
nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, gamma irradiators, and cyclotrons?
How many curies of Cs-137 and Co-60 will be located onsite as sources?
How and where will the gamma radiation field be measured? What other
radiological activities will be carried out at the proposed Stanley
Hall and other NEQSS project sites? How and where are the emissions
going to be monitored?
Where is the evaluation of the potential environmental impacts from
the cooling towers on the Stanley Hall rooftop? Will LBNL or any biotech
corporation/business/institution occupy research space at this new building
or other NEQSS project buildings? If so, then who and what percentage
of these new buildings will they occupy/lease? Will there be corporate
sponsorship, i.e. such as the recent NOVARTIS contract with UCB’s
College of Natural Resources?
Within the proposed activities at Stanley Hall is provision for animal
research. The draft EIR claims that animals will be held only for short-term
(p. 2-16) What does this mean? Are the animals going to be killed within
24 hours after experimentation? How are they going to be killed and
how will the carcasses be disposed of? As hazardous waste or radioactive
waste? How many animals are going to be processed (used in experiments)
in a year? Will there be independent (of all users) monitoring of animal
research to ensure humane treatment of laboratory animals?
The draft EIR states that much of the hazardous materials handled at
Stanley and Davis Hall North are consumed through use. (p. 3.5-7) This
appears not to be factual because much of the hazardous and radioactive
materials used in lab activities will actually escape these buildings
through fume hoods, which are designed to keep poisonous fumes from
intoxicating lab researchers (students). This will have a serious impact
on the local campus environment, Girton Hall Childcare Center, Stern
Hall, other student dormitories and residential neighborhoods, all of
which the draft EIR fails to address.
According to the October 1,1997 Contract between the United States of
America and the Regents of the University of California of the Management
of LBNL, Appendix I, LBNL currently occupies 105, 503 square feet of
space in fifteen (15) various central Berkeley campus buildings (See
attachment 2). Most of these labs are positioned in the Northeast Quadrant.
There is no oversight by the University’s Office of Radiation
Safety (ORS) or the State Department of Health Services (DHS) at any
of these DOE/LBNL occupied/leased laboratories. These on campus laboratories
have no restrictions regarding inventory and/or use of radioactive materials.
The impact of these DOE/LBNL activities have been overlooked and consequently
excluded from all University of California, Berkeley generated campus
environmental evaluations such as this draft EIR currently under review.
Therefore, all labs on campus, whether University or LBNL occupied should
be brought under the regulatory jurisdiction and oversight of the ORS
and DHS. This would enhance both the health and safety of students and
nearby residents. It would also provide a much needed campus wide comprehensive
inventory of chemicals and radionuclides which, for the first time would
identify and factor in both LBNL’s and the University’s
labs activities and their cumulative health and safety risks
The proximity of the proposed NEQSS project to an active earthquake
fault, the Hayward Fault, has the great potential to cause hazardous
and radioactive materials releases from existing and proposed buildings,
a chemical/radioactive firestorm in an already densely populated urban
center. We strongly recommend that no buildings be constructed along
the Alquist-Priolo Hazard Rupture Zone, where a portion of the Stanley
Hall is located.
This northeast corner of the campus should be dedicated as an open green
space. This would relieve congestion and improve the area’s air
quality by reducing the chemical inventory and chemical emissions in
this quadrant, thus, minimizing risks to students and neighbors. The
NEQSS project should not be approved as proposed, and no further evaluations
should be conducted on these building projects outside the context of
the LBNL Long-Range Development Plan.
Pamela Sihvola, Co-Chair Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste
L A Wood, Community Environmental Advisory Commission*
*For identification only
cc: Gray Davis, Governor, State of California
Steve Arthur, Acting Director, California Department of Conservation
James Davis, State Geologist, Division of Mines and Geology
Weldon Rucker, City Manager, City of Berkeley
Mayor and Members of the Berkeley City Council
1. Alquist-Priolo Fault-Rupture Hazard Zone Map (EIP)
2. Appendix I, USA and U.C. Regents 1997 Contract of the Management
Long Range Development Plan for the University of California, Berkeley
Regents of the University of California
Date: January 18, 2005 Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: UCSF–Laurel Heights
3333 California Street, San Francisco
Agenda–Open Session & Public Comment Period (20 minutes)
(A 30 minute video recording of the City of Berkeley Press
Conference and Public Comments)
Office of the President
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS:
For the Meeting of January 18, 2005
CERTIFICATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT AND APPROVAL
OF THE 2020 LONG RANGE DEVELOPMENT PLAN, BERKELEY CAMPUS
Project: 2020 Long Range Development Plan
Proposed Action: Certify EIR and approve the LRDP
Previous Action: In May 1990, The Regents approved
the 1990 Long Range Development Plan and EIR. In January 2002, The
Regents amended the LRDP to add 325,000 gsf for
the Northeast Quadrant Seismic and Safety Projects.
Project Summary: The 2020 LRDP projects a two-semester
average enrollment of 33,450 by 2020-21 (an increase of 1,650 over
the 2001-02 EIR base year) and summer session enrollment of 17,000.
Faculty and staff are projected to increase to 15,810 (an increase
of 2,870 over the 2001-02 EIR base year). Visitors and vendors are
estimated at 2,000 by 2020. Building space is projected to increase
to 14,307,100 gsf by 2020-21(a 2,200,000 gsf increase over 2001-02
EIR base year). Housing is estimated to increase to 10,790 beds
(a 2,600-bed increase over 2001-02). The LRDP gives academic facilities
priority to be located in the Campus Park rather than the Adjacent
Blocks, Hill Campus, or Southside. The LRDP also
identifies design guidelines for the Campus Park to maintain the
classical core, natural riparian areas, and formal open space areas.
Issues: The EIR identified some significant unavoidable impacts.
Key public concerns were proposed faculty housing in the Hill Campus
area, expansion of University parking, and fiscal impacts to the
City of Berkeley.
COMMITTEE ON -2- 112
GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS
January 18, 2005
The President recommends that, upon review and consideration of
the attached Environmental
Impact Report, the Committee on Grounds and Buildings recommend
that The Regents:
(1) Certify the EIR for the UC Berkeley 2020 Long
Range Development Plan.
(2) Adopt the attached Mitigation Monitoring Program
for the Final EIR
(3) Adopt the Statement of Overriding Considerations
included in the Findings.
(4) Adopt the attached Findings pursuant to the
California Environmental Quality Act.
(5) Adopt the 2020 Long Range Development Plan,
The 2020 Long Range Development Plan for UC Berkeley
provides a framework for land use and capital investment to meet
the academic goals and objectives of UC Berkeley through the year
2020. It describes both the scope and distribution of capital investment
anticipated within this time frame, as well as policies to guide
the location, scale, and design of individual projects. The 2020
LRDP does not commit the University to any specific individual project
but rather provides a strategic context and procedures for decisions
on those projects. The 2020 LRDP is not a separate document, but
is fully contained in Chapter 3.1 of the LRDP EIR. It is a fundamental
principle at UC Berkeley that its capital investment strategy should
align with and promote the academic goals of the campus. Toward
this end, the Chancellor formed a campus committee in fall 2000
to prepare a Strategic Academic Plan, which was completed in 2002.
The scope of the Strategic Academic Plan is much broader than the
2020 LRDP, but many of its provisions listed below
have significant implications for land use and capital investment
and serve as a foundation for the objectives of the 2020 LRDP. Integrate Research and Education Research is fundamental
to the educational mission.
As a research University, UC Berkeley strives to provide its students
with a unique experience, one in which critical inquiry, analysis,
and discovery are integral to the coursework. Students expect to
play an active role in research, under the guidance of faculty who
are themselves engaged in creating, not merely imparting, new knowledge.
The integration of research-based learning into undergraduate education
is a goal of the campus Strategic Academic Plan. In order to achieve
it, the campus must expand the scope of its research programs to
accommodate more direct, mentored participation by undergraduates
and must also provide adequate and suitable space to house those
programs. The 2020 LRDP describes
the scale of capital investment required to accommodate recent and
future expansion of the education and research programs of the campus.