Hazardous Waste on West End Not Likely

Suspicious cargo to be examined here if official contract receives approval

Concerns a warehouse and trucking company in Alameda will transport hazardous material including nuclear toxins into the city are overexaggerated said the company owner.

Bob Haydari, owner of BOBAC CFS Corp, said Alameda residents should not be worried that his company signed a tentative agreement with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team last summer to become one of two warehouse facilities — along with West Oakland-based North America 3PL — designated as cargo examination stations for suspicious cargo entering the Bay Area. The agreement was hashed out last summer, but an official contract has yet to be signed. “There is nothing to worry about,” said H a y d a r i , whose company is located near Target. “I’m 60 years old, I work with my wife, and two kids, I would not do this if I thought this job was dangerous.”

Haydari said each cargo truck is thoroughly vetted before it leaves the Port of Oakland. “There are so many methods of inspection these containers go through before they leave the port,” said Haydari. “Most go through xray scanning and 100 percent of the containers are screened for radiation before they leave the port.” Some Alameda residents are concerned the containers would pose potential environmental risks to the city when they would be transported from the Port of Oakland to Alameda. In November, Alameda resident Irma Garcia-Sinclair handed out fliers in front of the new Target warning residents of the dangers these potentially hazardous materials could have on the city.

“I recently became aware that US CBP is now sending all suspect cargo under the Anti-Terrorism and Contraband Enforcement Team (ACET) from the Port of Oakland to the West End for examination,” wrote Garcia-Sinclair in a letter to different media outlets. “This is high-risk cargo that may contain weapons of mass destruction, radioactive materials, explosives and other hazardous materials under the program.”

But Haydari believes the fear residents have has come from a rival company spreading lies to ruin the new agreements with CBP after its own agreement was voided. Pacific Coast Customs (PCC) was the previous facility that held cargo screened by CBP’s A-CET. However, the company lost its contract when they and the city of Oakland could not come up with a new lease agreement for the warehouse space it operated out of at the Oakland Army Base. “They lost the contract,” said Haydari.

“I believe PCC is getting into the ears of people in Oakland to sabotage the deal for 3PL. They’re like ‘if we’re going down, we’re taking everyone down with us,’ and it might work.” Haydari said PCC first started telling residents in Oakland that 3PL would house hazardous toxins.

This led an Oakland contingent, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), to protest 3PL as a cargo examining station because of supposed health risks. Eventually, city of Oakland’s zoning division issued a ruling in December forbidding 3PL from establishing the station at the old Horizon Beverage plant in West Oakland. In a letter dated Wednesday, Dec. 18, city Zoning Manager Scott Miller told 3PL CEO Tom Henderson that his business was forbidden to conduct inspections of hazardous or unknown materials. “I understand that the facility is an Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (inspection site),” Miller said.

“The city would not be able to issue a zoning clearance for the proposed facility.” 3PL has until Jan. 13 to appeal the city’s ruling. Haydari said PCC’s lies are why 3PL is having trouble with zoning clearances. He also maintained the city of Alameda has nothing to worry about. “The things we’ve inspected since last summer have no hazardous materials,” he said. “It’s mainly clothing.” The CBP Customs Examination Station at the Oakland Army Base cite inspected 300 trucks a month, according to the Oakland Post. Contact Ekene Ikeme at eikeme@ alamedasun.com.