Safeway strongarms Petaluma city council in gas station fight

Despite clear public opposition to a proposed Safeway gas station in east Petaluma, the city council on April 1 approved Safeway’s plan without requiring an environmental impact report. Opponents, including Sierra Club Sonoma Group, spoke out demanding the city require environmental review on this project, as it would have undisputed harmful effects on residents and schoolchildren in proximity to the gas station.

Not only are health concerns an issue, but in a time when lawmakers and leaders should be working hard to cut greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, adding a new gas station is going in the wrong direction. That in addition to there are already two other gas stations nearby, and the proposed site is adjacent to schools and playing fields. Yet even with all the information presented and its constituents pleading for it to do the right thing, the council succumbed to pressure from the corporation, which threatened to sue the government if it did not get its way.

Sierra Club and the grassroots group No Gas Here are not finished fighting this project, however, and other projects that pose this kind of human health and environmental threat to the community. We turn our attention to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which will need to issue a permit for the gas station. We will continue to monitor the process.