PRESS STATEMENT — Community Demands Accountability of Hunters Point Shipyard Cleanup Fraud; Residents at Hunters Point Deserve to Thrive

Chinese Progressive Association 華人進步會


For Immediate Release: September 18, 2018
Contact: Adrian Leong

Community Demands Accountability of Hunters Point Shipyard Cleanup Fraud;
Residents at Hunters Point Deserve to Thrive

(San Francisco, CA) A decade ago, residents of Bayview Hunters Point and organizations, including, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice voiced concern about the horrific level of toxic contamination left by the U.S. Navy at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. With the high rates of cancer and asthma already in the neighborhood, residents knew that it would be disastrous for a housing development to be built on one of the most toxic superfund sites in the country. At the time, CPA joined in their demands that the shipyard be cleaned and remediated. However, our calls were ignored.

The Lennar Corporation built housing on toxic land, now occupied by many Chinese immigrant families, who are at risk for exposure to radioactive waste and toxins. The news that Tetra Tech, Lennar’s contractor, falsified reports that they cleaned the superfund site and last week’s announcement that a radioactive object was found near homes at the shipyard are alarming, and sadly, unsurprising.

“It has long been documented that cleanup and oversight of cleanup in neighborhoods like Bayview Hunters Point is substandard to equivalent efforts in middle class white neighborhoods. The community and our organization are on record as to the hazards of developing on that land. Our concerns were ignored, and we were told lies,” says Pam Tau Lee, Chairperson of the Chinese Progressive Association and longtime environmental justice activist.

People of color, immigrants, and poor people are disproportionately impacted by environmental racism. We know that the high rates of cancer and asthma in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, where the superfund site is located, are not coincidental. The families living near the Hunters Point Shipyard are disproportionately of color and low income. This is evidence of environmental racism in Bayview Hunters Point — the communities bearing the brunt of the toxicity of the Shipyard are also disproportionately impacted by high rates of cancer, asthma, skin irritations, and death. San Francisco must put a stop to placing the development of condominiums over the health and well-being of the families of Bayview Hunters Point.

Our communities deserve better and deserve to thrive wherever we live. Just last week, CPA joined thousands of people in San Francisco during the Solidarity to Solutions week of actions to demand that all solutions to climate change be founded on justice for frontline communities, those most impacted by climate change, environmental racism, and climate capitalism. Like we knew 10 years ago, our communities know what we need to be healthy and strong.

Ten years ago, our communities demanded that the superfund site be cleaned, and we were failed. Today, we are calling for our city’s leaders to hold accountable Lennar and Tetra Tech for putting the lives of thousands of people in danger. We demand that the Department of Environment conduct an internal investigation into their own reports that the shipyard had been cleaned. We demand the immediate re-testing of radioactivity in the area, and to do so with a thoroughness that reflects the widespread concerns of community groups and members. Furthermore, we demand a reinvestment in cleaning up all toxic sites such as this one, such that all working class families may thrive and lead lives that they deserve.

About Chinese Progressive Association
Founded in 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association is a community organization that educates, organizes and empowers the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people.