Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Section. Friday,
September 16, 1994
Coming today at a theater near you-or, at least the steps of
Berkeley’s City Hall: the premiere showing of “Campus
Chemical Waste: Disaster in the Planning”. This is
a kickoff to mobilization,” said Wood. “Everyone
says this is a NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) thing, but it’s
an issue that has crossed the city and crossed political lines.
We are trying to say that UC needs to change the decision-making
process and reevaluate the sites.”
The thirteen-minute production documents controversy over a
proposal by the University of California at Berkeley to build
a $9.5 million hazardous-materials transfer facility in the
rolling hills above campus.
The video, by L A Wood and Carolyn Erbele, features comments
from community and university officials with footage of toxic
storage containers looming behind cyclone fences and shots of
the 1991 fire raging through the East Bay hills.
Equipped with a video cassette recorder, a television, and a
small gas generator, Wood and Erbele plan to show their low-budget
production from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and again next week.
Berkeley hills neighbors have mustered support from city official,
students, environmental leaders and city residents in opposing
the university preferred plan for expanding its overloaded hazardous-waste
The university for more than twenty years has operated the Canyon
Chemical Facility in the hills above the Memorial Stadium, where
110 tons of chemicals and low-level radioactive waste generated
each year by the labs on campus are packaged. The facility stores
the materials for up to 90 days until trucks transport the containers
to recyclers and dumps around the country.
With the amount of scientific research increasing on campus
and more demanding regulations on waste handling, the university
needs a more sophisticated and roomier facility.
The draft environmental impact report released last month identified
a site one-quarter of a mile away from the current facility
as the best spot for expansion.
But community advocates say the site is too close to houses
and in an area prone to fires, earthquakes and mudslides.
Berkeley Fire Chief Cary Cates, speaking in the video agreed:
If the university is successful in locating the site here, it
will be contrary to the efforts made by the city to mitigate
Community advocates have called on the university to respond
to its waste-handling problems by reducing the amount produced
and by putting the new transfer station facility on campus close
“We do want to replace the current facility, but we are
responsive to the community,” said Michael Dobbins, the
university director of physical and environmental planning.”
“It’s important for the public to understand that
the Callaghan Hall site (on campus) is a serious option that
we are studying more over the next few weeks.”
Public Hearings on the draft environmental impact report are
scheduled for September 29. The City Council earlier opposed
putting a new waste facility in Strawberry Canyon. The council
is expected to vote Tuesday to show the video at its meeting
September 27, 1994