Development lawsuits against Stockton port, Army Corps settled
Activist groups have dropped two pending lawsuits against the Port of Stockton and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, opening the door for dredging and expansion at the port to move forward.
The activist groups Wednesday announced an agreement to drop the suits while the Corp or Engineers and the port agreed to take further proactive environmental actions.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Baykeeper organization sued the two government entities in August 2006 to stop dredging of the San Joaquin River. The suits claimed that the Corps failed to examine the possible impacts on port-area residents and to the river wildlife and habitats.
Last September, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against the Corps and the port, ordering a stop to dredging until further environmental review was conducted.
Terms of the agreement call for the port to:
' Reduce the environmental impact of its operations and dredging.
' Increase dissolved oxygen level monitoring of area waters.
' Provide for more clean trucks to service the port.
' Develop incentives for ocean going vessels calling at the port to use cleaner burning fuels.
As part of the agreement, the port will set up a $5 million fund to implement air quality control projects. In addition, the port will be held responsible under the agreement for assuring the quality of local waters during any dredging.
The port is seeking to upgrade seven wharves, create an intermodal rail yard and increase dockside access for ocean vessels at the nearly 1,500-acre Rough and Ready Island near Stockton.