pulse091210More than 1,600 people weighed in on the Dec. 3, 2009 Argus-Courier online poll about Dutra Materials’ revised plans for an asphalt plant just south of Petaluma, across the river from Shollenberger Park.
More than 85 percent of respondents said the plant should be denied, while 13.4 percent said it should be approved. Asked if the modifications to the plan changed their mind, 83.4 percent said no, that they always opposed it. Another 11.7 percent said they have always supported it, while 2.2 percent said they opposed it before but support it now.
Here are some of the comments by those who participated in the survey:
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“You can add lipstick to the pig, but it’s still a pig (no off-ense to my porcine friends).”
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“We have a civic responsibility to keep Dutra away from the Petaluma River! Shollenberger must be protected and we must remind ourselves that Petaluma is the Highway 101 gateway to the Sonoma Wine Country. Do we want the first thing tourists see and smell to be an ugly asphalt plant? No!”
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“Wake up, Petaluma. We need this. It is going next to the same industrial uses.”
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“The area proposed for the new plant is a beautiful, relaxing area for Petaluma residents to enjoy peace and quiet. An asphalt plant is not conducive to that.”
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“When someone listens to the community and makes serious modifications, they should get permitted. Let’s make sure the regulators keep these guys in environmental compliance.”
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“Wrong place is the wrong place, no matter what the modifications. Dutra should cut their losses and find a less environmentally sensitive site. Perhaps it is time to start a campaign to raise money to buy the site. Petaluma has worked too hard to preserve wetlands and support Shollenberger Park to have it threatened by the thin end of the industrial wedge that the asphalt plant represents!”
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“While I appreciate the modifications, as a family, we don’t believe this is a good move for the Petaluma community.”
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“Wrong place. The navigation issues are still there. Dutra is still allowed to process 225,000 tons of asphalt a year. Their track record in Marin County, Florida and their dumping in the Farallones Marine Sanctuary indicates they will continue to do what they want when they want. Polluting and paying the fine is the cost of doing business.”
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“With strict management controls and strict regulations, the plant will be a beneficial asset to the county.”
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“Why would anyone want to destroy the environmental and economic well-being of the Petaluma River basin? A revitalized basin can contribute greatly to the local economy and quality of life.”
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“Why risk our health for the plant?”
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“Why would anyone in his or her right mind approve of an asphalt plant next to Petalu-ma’s pristine Shollenberger Park and Petaluma Marsh? Didn’t Dutra realize this is an urgently needed wetlands for migratory birds? One of the most significant in all of California? Petaluma people need clean air and peace and quiet to be well — and Shollenberger is our most important walking park. Absolutely no obstruction to this, folks! The very idea of an asphalt plant next to this wonderful bird preserve is crazy-making!”
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“Why leave an industrial scar on an area that is enjoyed by so many? Is it only about money? If so, what is the payoff? Petaluma could be to Northern California what Ashland is to Oregon. Why spoil such a peaceful area when there are so many other places where the plant could be built with less environmental impact.”
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“Why would you want to kill jobs and industry in this county or country when it is badly needed?”
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“Why is this continuing to remain under consideration? It is clear that the people have spoken and do not want Dutra in any form to use the last river property for its poisonous, noisy and smelly purpose.”
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“Why do they have to ruin the whole river’s natural beauty because they own it? Why are these towns so eager to destroy what makes them lovely?”
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“Wrong plant in the wrong place. Please listen to the voice of the voters. The negative effects far outweigh whatever jobs and costs savings you hope to gain … Keep Petaluma green. We owe it to our children. Thank you.”
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“While the modified proposal is an improvement over the previous plan, it doesn’t counter the fact that this simply isn’t the place for an asphalt plant, period.”
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“We need this plant in our town. We have no infrastructure plants.”
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“While pollution from any asphalt plant can be reduced, it can’t be eliminated, and it would be a disservice to the city of Petaluma, the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance and other organizations that have contributed so much to making Shollenberger Park and now the Ellis Creek Wetlands such a wonderful place for many kinds of healthy recreation, to allow the approval of this facility. Even if Dutra Materials promised all of the green points possible, their track record makes them untrustworthy.”
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“We need local asphalt producers to make sure the cities and county have supplies to fix their bad roads.”
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“While most of the world is going green, sustainable and moving towards health and healing, the Sonoma County supervisors are looking backwards and letting themselves stay in the influence pockets of ‘dirty’ industry. How can we be paying with our tax dollars to send representatives to Copenhagen (a great conference) while at home these very representatives support this project, which fails all standards for clean air, clean water, public health enhancement and disease prevention. There is something that does not add up here. Erin Brockovich saved her community after children and adults were dying. Will we wait until that happens to really get on board. Single-handedly she changed everything. Together, we can do it, but we all need to realize that each of us needs to speak out and know what the truth is in our hearts. Let’s not let ‘dirty’ industry damage our lives and our community.”
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“Why is this even being seriously considered? It is a bad idea from the beginning.”

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“When will Dutra figure it out that this is the wrong place to put an industrial factory that emits toxic and smelly gases, dust, noise, lights, and clogs our river with parked barges in a dangerous place? Surely, in all of Sonoma County, there are places to locate an asphalt plant that isn’t at the highly visible 101 gateway to Petaluma and Sonoma County, that doesn’t pollute Shollenberger Park, that would be acceptable to the cities, and that doesn’t subject our residents, kids, visitors and businesses to 24/7 trucks, asphalt smells and noises. But the supervisors have failed to do this when they produced their new General Plan over the past five years. Time to get that research going now!”
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“Why didn’t you give the option that the changes Dutra made don’t change my mind. I haven’t always opposed it, but the modifications didn’t change my opinion of the plant, either.”

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“Wheeze, wheeze.”
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“What part of ‘we don’t want an asphalt plant in Petaluma’ don’t they understand?”
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“What has a smaller environmental footprint, a house from the 1970s or a house from 2009? What has a smaller environmental footprint, an asphalt plant from the 1970s or an asphalt plant built in 2010? What has a smaller environmental footprint, recycling material from Petaluma in Petaluma or trucking that material to Santa Rosa to be recycled in a plant from the 1970s, then truck the materials back to Petaluma? Way to go B.A.N.A.N.A. , protecting our environment even if it means increasing our footprint!”
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“What a way to threaten and destroy one of our most precious places, Shollenberger Park. Don’t you care about what will be left for our kids and grandkids?”
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“We voted against any and all industrial use in the scenic corridor and I am aghast that the county supervisors take so lightly the will of the vast majority. Does this not mean a negation of the General Plan?”
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“We need to protect land, not exploit it.”
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“We need to create jobs in Sonoma County right now, not listen to a few people whom are opposed to any building of any kind.”
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“We need this plant in our town. We have no infrastructure plants.”
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“We need this and it should be approved.”
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“We need Shollenberger.”
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“We need new industry and jobs in the community. Plus we need building material generated from within our community, instead of importing from out of county. That is the foundation on which we built our original county strengths and economy. Dutra has been a good neighbor in the past and I believe they will continue to be in the future.”

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“We know who will lose if the plant is built (residents, nature lovers, walkers, bird watchers, birds, local wildlife, etc.) but who will benefit? A few people will make lots of money — but at a great cost to many more. Not acceptable.”

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“You are not asking enough questions to obtain a balanced view. It will not measure any real change due to the adjustments to the plan.”
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“Wrong type of business for this location.”
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“Wrong plant, wrong place!
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“Wrong location.”
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“Wrong place any way you look at it, and especially with Dutra’s environmental track record.”
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“Wrong plant in the wrong place. Please listen to the voice of the voters. The negative effects far outweigh whatever jobs and costs savings you hope to gain. Apart from endangering the wildlife of Shollenberger Park and releasing carcinogenic pollutants into nearby residential areas (exposing the county to future lawsuits), the very idea of an asphalt plant in Petaluma is totally out of character and not the direction we should be heading. Developing Shollenberger as a nature habitat will attract nature lovers from other counties and states will create more jobs and revenue through increased tourism. Take one step further and use one of the many empty warehouses and convert it into a nature and wildlife refuge and museum and it will generate even more jobs and income. You can include the wildlife museum at the Petaluma High School, the resources of the local animal shelters, the salmon hatchery of Casa Grande as part of the infrastructure. Keep Petaluma green. We owe it to our children. Thank you.”
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“We have sufficient asphalt production capacity within close proximity. We will not benefit by having Dutra create a new asphalt plant, and citizens have already ‘voiced’ their opposition through ballot.”

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“We need jobs.”
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“We love the area and value nature. A HUGE no —we visit every year.”
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“We have a bio-gem in the midst of Petaluma. Haystack Landing is a perfect place to enhance that bio-gem. Why not build a visionary, appropriately scaled bed and breakfast type hotel with an organic garden to supply its kitchen, access to water activities, etc., to serve the adventurous nature lovers that come to Petaluma because of its uniqueness. Might even include a few dairy goats to provide simple, cottage style cheeses for the patrons (takes minutes) and laying hens for fresh eggs. Could even make the gardens, goats and hens an interactive experience. Would also provide many more healthy, casino online local jobs than an asphalt plant.”
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“We do not want or need an asphalt plant located near an environmentally sensitive area. Dutra needs to look into locating their plant elsewhere!”
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“We do not want any Dutra plant. No to Dutra. Always no to Dutra.”
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“We do not NEED this plant. Dutra does. The mind-numbing repetition about cheap asphalt is weak arguments for this plant but is all the pro-camp seems to come up with … Read more! And get the FULL story about what this means for Petaluma. Dutra can pad meetings with their people and send out flowery propaganda but an asphalt plant in Petaluma still STINKS!”
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“We do not need the pollution and noise in our community-especially located near precious wetlands with wildlife and river access.”
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“We don’t want the Dutra Plant in our town. Find somewhere else to pollute the area. We’ve already voted on this. It’s annoying that they’re pushing it again. Just trying to wear us all down. Makes me want it even less because of that.”
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“We don’t need this plant and we shouldn’t allow it to be built. We will regret it if we do. Let it be built somewhere else, farther from where people and wildlife live and recreate.”
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“We don’t need Dutra here in Petaluma starting with a few reasons first. The first is right across the river called Rocky Park, in Honor of Rocky the Police dog. Second is Shollenberger Park. It is very peaceful at both of these places. Petaluma spent a lot of money on both projects to keep it beautiful here in Petaluma. It is the most peaceful places to go in town! Don’t mess up our town anymore. Please note we voted for a third lane, Novato narrows back in 1978. Did it get built yet? No! Much like Smart train that we didn’t vote for. That passed so Northern Pacific could run their trains without paying to fix the tracks themselves. When election time comes I’ll be seeing who wanted Dutra on the council. Maybe its time for a recall of some council members today! I’ll get the word out right now via the Internet.”
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“We don’t anything else built here in Petaluma, until the currently empty buildings are filled.”
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“We are urging Supervisor Efren Carrillo to please vote NO to approving the Dutra Asphalt Plant. This would be incredibly unsafe and toxic to the residents that live near Haystack Landing. We love Petaluma and Sonoma County. Please don’t destroy it. We moved up here because of the natural beauty, farms, and peaceful way of life. There has to be a better place for Dutra to build.”
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“We already said no, so they change the proposal — a little bit. Just another example of the local politicians doing what they want despite public opinion. It’s all always all about them, and never about the people who put them there.”
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“We’ve worked so hard to make our town so pleasing. In addition to so many other unfortunate side effects from an asphalt plant, having one would do a world of damage to the image of Petaluma.”
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“Under no circumstances would I approve of this disastrous plan!”
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“Too near residential area. Too near parkland.”
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“This will make the Petaluma community a less desirable place to live, breathe, and work. NO, NO, NO.” — WH
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“This will hurt the community and should in no way happen.”
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“This will greatly compromise Shollenberger Park; pollute the air and river of Petaluma. There is no such thing as a pollution free asphalt plant. This should never have been allowed to get this far. The people of Petaluma, including the current city council members strongly oppose this.”
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“This will be a huge detriment to the beautiful Petaluma community and I am highly opposed to this project.”
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“This will be a benefit to the community, the county, the city, everyone. It should have been done a while ago, and we are sorry the hate-mongers distributed such false information to residents.”
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“This whole process is a joke! No wonder nothing ever gets done in this town. I think over 6 months ago most Petalumans were against Dutra as was the ENTIRE city council. When has this happened before on any development project. The majority of County Supervisors are also against the project except Mr. Kerns who for some reason does not represent his constituents in any shape or form. Maybe he has some other interests we are unaware of. It is time to defeat this project once and for all and move on to some projects that actually might benefit Petaluma and its citizens.”
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“This very industrial plant should be sited well away from Shollenberger Park to protect the ecology of the area. Sh. Park is a real treasure and Petaluma should do all it can to shield it from harmful influences.”
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“This is the wrong place for a plant like that. Those wetlands are precious and need special care. The EI would be hideous if Dutra went ahead with this. Find somewhere in W Santa Rosa!”
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“This is just a totally inappropriate place for an industrial operation, especially one for processing something like asphalt! It would make a good riverport or site for light industrial such as a fulfillment and shipping operation.”
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“This is atrocious — NO!”
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“This is a horrible idea. Health comes before wealth.”
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“This is a bad thing for Petaluma I don’t get it.” — Greg Duke
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“There is another plant close enough to accommodate the freeway expansion. Please vote against the new asphalt plant. Thanks.” — Leah Naylor
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“There are other areas out of the county.”
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“There are no safe levels of pollution … we do not want the asphalt plant in Petaluma.” — Kathryn Wilson
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“The proposed plant is NOT in the best interest of the city of Petaluma or the county of Sonoma, or the environment or the health of our citizens. It must be denied and removed from its location.”
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“Still too close to Shollenberger not to have negative impact on wildlife and humans.”
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“Spend your $ on the Kenilworth Ruins and get some tax base here, fix the roads … wait if they will give Petaluma FREE asphalt until all roads are fixed, then I change my mind, they are welcome, if not, no no no. Petaluma is polluted enough already (have you ever swam in the P River?), I dare you to. Free asphalt and they stay, not and they go!”
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“Really, an asphalt plant? Who could possibly think this fits within the character of our community?”
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“Please do not allow this to happen to our wonderful community. Too much at stake here, and the negatives FAR outweigh the positives. We know you can see that, despite the pressure you are obviously feeling to even consider this. COME ON PEOPLE! You live here too.”
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“Please don’t allow Dutra Materials to poison one of the most beautiful areas of the county.”
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“Not needed, nor is it a friendly operation. It will create a mess, dust, noise, and a scar on the earth like the one that is there right now form the huge pit they have left near the bridge.”
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“No, no, 1,000 times, no. We do not need this plant. We do not want this plant. This plant is in the wrong place. This plant is proposed by an unethical and corrupt company that we do not support. We want wildlife at Shollenberger, and less development. Not more. No no no no no.”
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“More jobs and revenue can’t be bad.”
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“Keep Petaluma pure!”
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“Just a bad idea … period!”
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“I think this plant would be a plus for this county.”
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“I think that Shollenberger Park should remain just that, a park. A park that many citizens of our crazy society have enjoyed for years. And now you want to bring in some asphalt plant? To destroy, ruin and defile such a pure and beautiful place. If an asphalt plant is going to be built somewhere in Petaluma, it should be out on Mecham Road, somewhere near the dumps. Please whatever you do, do not build on our Shollenberger Park, leave it as it is.”
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“Find a different spot.”
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“Down with DONTra.”
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“Don’t let this happen to our town! Think about the multiplicity of species that are affected by noise pollution, and how it will affect their breeding habits! Don’t let Shollenberger wither away because of another construction site! Here’s an idea: How about building the asphalt plant in the old Pomeroy Construction site? It already has a dock for barges, and nothing else can be built upon it until the ground is detoxified… so how about it? If the plant is “safe” then why not build it closer to humans and further from organisms that will be heavily stressed by this?”
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“Do not allow this plant to ruin the North Bay!
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“Does ANYONE recognize the people who have lived at Haystack Landing some for more than 30 years who WILL BE AFFECTED Directly by this; Dutra’s plant, the noise, pollution etc.??? Has ANYONE TALKED to the people who live at Haystack? Argus, IF you want a story talk to the people who have been living at Haystack since before 1978 to now. You will be amazed by their stories. PLEASE Do not let Dutra build!”
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“Build it at least 5 miles from any park or school.”
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“Bad for the environment, no redeeming features for the community.”
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“Against the Dutra plant in any form.”
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“Absolutely the wrong place for a plant like this.”