Last August, shortly after the A’s filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court against the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), A’s president Dave Kaval sent out a series of tweets. The lawsuit alleged that DTSC had failed to implement the state’s Hazardous Waste Law against Schnitzer Steel, a steel manufacturing and scrap metal recycling company with a facility in West Oakland. Kaval’s tweets expressed concern about the impact of Schnitzer’s actions on the soil and water within the community, which he said could lead to fires. He deemed it unacceptable.
“We want to be part of the solution,” Kaval tweeted. “Environmental stewardship is core to our commitment to Oakland. We are doing this with our groundbreaking environmental justice legislation to improve air quality, reduce car trips by 20% & address sea level rise.”
He added: “We want our ballpark project to be a catalyst for environmental justice in West Oakland. We’ll fight this fight regardless of what happens with the ballpark. This is bigger than baseball.”
About seven months later, the Alameda County Superior Court ruled in the A’s favor.
“Boom, we won the lawsuit!” Kaval tweeted on March 24, adding that it was a “huge win for a safer and healthier West Oakland.”
Sejal Choksi-Chugh, executive director of Baykeeper, an environmental group that works to stop pollution to San Francisco Bay and its tributaries, was watching all of this with a more skeptical eye. She was in the process of reviewing the City of Oakland’s draft Environmental Impact Report for the A’s Howard Terminal ballpark project, which was released in late February. As she flipped its pages — of which there are thousands, including appendices — she couldn’t help but think this effort toward regulating Schnitzer felt misplaced, and perhaps a little insincere.