Oakland—The Superior Court of California, Alameda County, ruled yesterday that the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) must regulate toxic metal shredder waste from Schnitzer Steel as hazardous waste. Previously, metal shredder waste in California was treated as nonhazardous waste due to a loophole in regulations, which this ruling closes.
The ruling was made in response to a legal action brought by the Oakland Athletics. Schnitzer's West Oakland facility is adjacent to Howard Terminal, where the Oakland Athletics have proposed building a new stadium, and it poses a toxic threat to any potential development.
Baykeeper and allied organizations issued an amicus brief to the court in support of DTSC regulating metal shredder waste as a hazardous material.
In response, Baykeeper staff attorney Ben Eichenberg issued the following statement:
"The Superior Court ruling is good news for the health of San Francisco Bay, and for Bay Area communities. West Oakland in particular has carried a disproportionate toxic burden, and has been the site of polluting industries for over a century. It is satisfying to see a measure of justice come to this historically abused neighborhood, and we expect DTSC will act quickly to set the highest possible standards to ensure the safety of the people and the environment.
"There is absolutely no reason why California's metal shredders should enjoy a loophole that allows them to get away with polluting our neighborhoods and our Bay. The Oakland Athletics, the environment, and our marginalized communities are on the right side of this issue."