Baykeeper Update

Voicing Concern over America's Cup

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Baykeeper is helping lead the Environmental Council, a coalition of more than thirty organizations, to ensure that the America's Cup leaves a positive environmental legacy for the Bay and our comunities. Along with the Dolphin Club and several coalition partners, Baykeeper voiced concerns at a recent Planning Commission meeting that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) does not adequately address the impacts of the event. The Environmental Council fears that the DEIR will not be able to guarantee that the Bay Area's air, water and sensitive shorelines are protected, and are urging City leaders to address the expected impact of the event to ensure a successful and sustainable sailing event.

The City has recognized publicly that large crowds, thousands of spectator boats, dredging to accommodate super yachts, a cruise terminal and various building projects are likely to cause significant air and water pollution, as well as transportation impacts within and leading into the City. To help address these issues, the Environmental Council, which includes Baykeeper, was formed to work with the city to achieve a green and sustainable event and shoreline development.

“We made a commitment to assist the City in their effort to host a successful America’s Cup event in a very short timeframe,” said Deb Self, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper. “We’ve had experts in natural resources, bay ecology and habitat, transportation and neighborhood and historic resources provide detailed written input to the City.” Unfortunately, little of that expertise has been incorporated into the draft document, raising concerns that the City may not be able to meet the ambitious timetable they’ve set.

The full draft EIR is available here:

In March of this year, Baykeeper and the Environmental Council offered a series of recommendations to race planners, laying out suggestions that include:

  • Increased public transit to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Keeping crowds away from sensitive shoreline habitats where species like Snowy plovers live;
  • Restrictions on the sale of plastic trinkets and single-use water bottles;
  • Adequate containers for composting and recycling;
  • Expanded clean boating education; and
  • Better controls on toxic boatyard pollution.

Download the pdf of the full comment letter.

Other major impacts of concern are crowds in sensitive upland habitats in the Presidio, the loss of shoreside power for visiting cruise ships, water quality impacts from boatyards and increased trash in the Bay, and interactions between marine mammals and visiting watercraft. Baykeeper and the Environmental Council will continue to urge San Francisco Planning Commissioners to make improvements in the draft EIR to ensure the America’s Cup is a benefit for the Bay in both the short and long term.


Photo: Flickr(CC) by Chatani