Board to make decision today on America's Cup pollution report 

click to enlarge Environmental groups are appealing the America’s Cup environmental impact report because of concerns about water pollution and air quality impacts. - AP FILE PHOTO
  • AP file photo
  • Environmental groups are appealing the America’s Cup environmental impact report because of concerns about water pollution and air quality impacts.

Air quality impacts and San Francisco Bay water pollution brought by the America’s Cup yacht race will be vetted today by the Board of Supervisors, which is set to decide on an appeal of plans for the regatta that is coming to The City.

Supervisors will also weigh in on whether the environmental impact report for the event adequately addresses the impact of waterfront development rights that race officials will receive from The City in exchange for financing pier improvements, including the creation of a state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal.

A consortium of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, brought the appeal shortly after the Planning Commission approved the environmental impact report for the race in December.

Their grievances with the document include that it fails to adequately address public safety; recreational impacts on the popular swimming area at Aquatic Park; and water turbidity that could result from a boat-mounted Jumbotron screen kicking up sediment from the Bay floor.

Board President David Chiu said that while San Francisco should expect the race to bring thousands of new jobs and a sizable economic boost, he thinks the plans need work.

“I do have some concerns about the environmental impacts and the long-term real estate deal that the Board of Supervisors will be working on in the coming weeks,” Chiu said.

Aaron Peskin, the former board president who has been working with the environmental groups, said the Port should be careful about the fiduciary impact of giving up rights to a slew of waterfront properties under the deal.

“I think that while people want to welcome the America’s Cup, the long-term environmental impacts haven’t been adequately addressed and the long-term impacts to the Port are troubling,” Peskin said.

Environmental groups also are concerned about air pollutant estimates for recreational boats that will be carrying spectators during the events.

America’s Cup World Series events featuring 45-foot catamarans are set to come to town in August, but the main event will feature 72-foot vessels in September 2013.

On the regatta’s peak days, up to 500,000 people are expected to attend.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Economic benefits

$1.4 billion Economic activity generated by America’s Cup in San Francisco
8,000 Number of jobs the regatta is expected to create
500,000 Maximum number of spectators estimated for the regatta’s peak days

Source: America’s Cup Event Authority

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Dan Schreiber

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