Union sues to block 100 new jobs for Central Valley
December 29, 2010
• Says Visalia distribution center violates state laws
• ‘Impacting air quality, traffic and noise’
Construction of a 500,000 square foot distribution center in Visalia should be stopped because the company planning it as well as the city of Visalia have violated state environmental and public health laws says Teamsters Joint Council 7 in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
VWR International LLC of West Chester, Pa., which sells medical lab materials, announced the warehouse, its second in California, in August. It will be nearly twice as large as the other California facility, which is in the Bay Area city of Brisbane.
Earlier this month Visalia City Council voted 5-0 to reimburse the firm up to $1.5 million for various street improvements needed for the new building.
The city has said that because the warehouse will be built in an existing industrial park that has the necessary permits, specific permitting for the building is not needed.
“It was critical that the new site be strategically located to enhance current and future customer service needs," said John Ballbach, chairman, president and CEO of VWR in August when the facility was announced. "In addition, it will also provide a great setting for our associates to work and live."
But Teamsters Joint Council 7 and Visalia resident Kevin Long, also a plaintiff, contend the distribution facility will generate 10,000 truck trips daily, emitting “dangerous particulates in the air and travel through residential neighborhoods significantly impacting air quality, traffic and noise.”
The lawsuit contends that the project violates both California's clean air laws as well as the state's Environmental Quality Act and that needed permits from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District have neither been approved or even applied for.
A spokeswoman says the company has no comment at this time.