Monday, February 27, 2017

March 1st: Defeat the Racist Riviera Beach Bleach Plant Plan

On February 9th, residents of Riviera Beach and environmental justice activists across the county were successful in compelling the Planning and Zoning Board to make a recommendation that would stop the Odyssey proposal and to encourage the City Counsel to deny any future plans to locate in the City of Riviera Beach.

Odyssey bleach plant in Tampa, FL
This Wednesday, March 1st, 6pm at Riviera Beach City Hall, the City Counsel meeting will take a final vote on the matter. But residents are concerned that the Counsel will pass this proposal in spite of the Planning and Zoning Board's conclusion.

The proposed site is zoned General Industrial with a "special exception" requirement which means that the plan can only be approved if it can show that it will do no harm to the community.

The site is adjacent to a large apartment complex, surrounded by low-income, African American residential areas, schools, churches, and a large food company. All of these are within the 1/2 mile evacuation zone required by the US Emergency Responder guidelines for facilities handling liquid bleach, which is a code 1791 product. This requires an evacuation plan and a hazmat plan. 

Odyssey's proposal for a Riviera facility is to store eight 40,000 gallon tanks at the Riviera Beach site, and distribute sodium hypochlorite by rail and by tanker truck throughout Florida. 

It appears that the initial scheme was intended to move quickly on Odyssey's site plan and application for a "special exception" without informing or requesting input from local residents, without doing and environmental impact study, and with no safety plans in case of catastrophe.

While this fight is taking place primarily in Riviera, the facility involves transport plans as well, meaning that all people concerned about this health hazard coming through in large tanker trucks should come to speak out against the public health threat of chlorine exposure throughout the county.

Opposition has come from local and regional groups including, the Riviera Beach Citizens Resources and Planning Counsel, the Federal Gardens neighborhood group,the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition and the Green Party of PBC.

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