By the Antelope Valley Residents for Responsible Development
The Antelope Valley Residents for Responsible Development (AVRRD) proposed to Kinkisharyo a plan that would mitigate the harmful effects that would result from Kinkisharyo’s controversial construction plan, which is funded entirely by tax dollars. [Read it here.]
At its meeting last week, the City Council voted to postpone the issue until Nov. 5 so that talks about environmental concerns in light of the proposed manufacturing plant can continue between Kinkisharyo and Antelope Valley residents. Members of the residents’ group filed comments in July upon learning that Kinkisharyo was attempting to build a plant in the city without water rights or any sort of environmental review.
“We are in the midst of the worst drought of a lifetime and Kinkisharyo is attempting to avoid this reality, and the law, by building a manufacturing plant without water,” said Kathy Mac Laren, a Palmdale resident and member of AVRRD. “Our proposed plan is reasonable. It will protect residents from harmful emissions and provides a safe path to ensure water access in this desert region. As a taxpayer whose hard-earned dollars help pay for this project, I want to see more accountability from Kinkisharyo. I am encouraged that the city is taking residents’ concerns seriously.”
In a letter to Kinkisharyo’s team of attorneys, residents wrote: “The goal of (our proposal) is to fill the void left by the City of Palmdale’s failure to perform any environmental review of the Project and thus failing to protect air quality, public health, biological resources and supplies of fresh water.”
Under its contract with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build 200 rail cars, Kinkisharyo, LLC is required to maintain all final assembly jobs in Los Angeles County – that means about 200 jobs are guaranteed in LA. The $891 million contract is funded entirely by taxpayer funds, much of which comes directly from LA County taxpayers authorized by the passage of Measure R.
In a letter of support, members of community and environmental groups called on city council members to take the environmental concerns of their constituents seriously and urge Kinkisharyo to follow California law. [Read the letter here.]
“The Proposal raises serious issues of air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and water resources that have never been disclosed,” the letter said.
Kinkisharyo was required to identify a site for its manufacturing plant by August 31, 2012, but it did not apply for permits for the 427,507-square-foot manufacturing site with the city of Palmdale until April 30, 2014 – a year and a half after the deadline.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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Editor’s note: In a letter dated October 10, Kinkisharyo International forfeited its decision to construct the 400,000-square-foot rail car manufacturing plant in Palmdale. The company blames AVRRD for this decision. Read more at: Plans for Kinkisharyo plant in Palmdale derailed by labor dispute
Previous related story: Kinkisharyo to build rail manufacturing site in Palmdale