Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations
By Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations (CONGAS)
“Sonoma County and Santa Rosa recently passed Climate Emergency Resolutions, Jenny Blaker of CONGAS says, “so why are they both continuing to permit new gas stations, facilitating the expansion of obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure, which threatens our collective future?” Currently CONGAS is opposing four separate proposals, each of which involves locating a new gas station, carwash, and convenience store in areas already surrounded by existing ones. One in Petaluma is in the courts (Safeway vs. Save Petaluma). Another is at 5300 Sebastopol Ave., in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, at Hwy 12/Llano Road, in the Laguna de Santa Rosa and adjacent to the Joe Rodota trail. Another is in an undeveloped green open space with vernal pools and oak trees at Hwy 12/North Wright Stations within Santa Rosa city limits, and also adjacent to the Joe Rodota trail.
The latest and most urgent is at Hwy 12/43 Middle Rincon Road. Hwy 12, once known as a scenic highway, is rapidly becoming Gas Station Highway, with a string of gas stations at frequent intervals along it. Other site-specific issues at each of these range from traffic safety issues and congestion, to water quality (there are many leaking underground storage tanks already throughout the county, with the potential to create both surface and groundwater pollution). But most of all, in every site, neighbors say they have never had to queue for gas. The first question when people first hear about a new gas station proposal is usually, “Why? Aren’t there enough already? There’s an existing gas station (or several of them) just across the street/down the road. We don’t need another!”