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Wal-Mart foes target Merced distribution center plan in suit Groups contend not enough is being done to mitigate impacts.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2009

Wal-Mart distribution center opponents said Tuesday they found flaws in the environmental review and will file a lawsuit demanding more be done to minimize the center's impact.

"We should be commended for picking up the torch that has been dropped," Merced Sierra Club Chairman Rod Webster said.

The case will be filed either today or Thursday in Merced County Superior Court. Sacramento attorney Keith Wagner, who represents the opponents, is still finishing up his arguments. A copy of the appeal was unavailable.

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Video: Wal-Mart opponents say they'll file suit this week
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009
 Opponents of the Wal-Mart distribution center said today they would file a lawsuit demanding more measures to minimize the center's impact because the environmental report was flawed.

"We should be commended for picking up the torch that has been dropped," Merced Alliance for Growth member Rod Webster said in an exclusive interview with the Sun-Star. 

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Merced's Debate Over Wal-Mart Distribution Center
FSN-TV - Fresno
August 19, 2009

Merced, CA (KFSN) -- The Merced Planning Commission held its first public hearing on Wal-Mart's plan to put a massive distribution center in Southeast Merced. Supporters said they want the jobs. The company says up to 12 hundred workers will be hired. Half of those will be full time employees. Opponents were concerned about the environmental impact, primarily the air pollution from the five hundred semi-trucks that will be coming and going from the center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, along with nearly two thousand cars driven by employees and others. Attorney Thomas Libby represents a citizens group fighting the project. He questioned the accuracy of the environmental impact report the city staff prepared for the project. "Are the elected representatives more interested in jobs for some people, or are they more interested in health for everyone." He said.

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Merced Debate Over Proposed Walmart Distribution Center
August 19, 2009

There was a packed room at the Merced City Hall Wednesday night for a public meeting over a proposed Walmart Distribution Center.

The plan is stirring debate over jobs, road congestion, smog and more.

If approved the center would be very large, taking up over 230 acres of land.

Many passionate people showed up for the meeting to have their voices heard. Half of them made signs and wore pins that said “Walmart jobs grow our economy” while the other half shared the opinion of an article that says “Walmart jobs threaten lives”. It’s a very heated debate with no compromise from either side.

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Walmart Planned Distribution Center in Merced - Public Hearing
Wednesday August 19, 6pm
Merced City Hall

Wal-Mart Critics Calls News Conference, Charge Warehouse Threatens Lives

MERCED - Citizens from throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley - concerned about the dangerous pollution from a planned 1.2 million square foot Wal-Mart warehouse here they charge will threaten lives - will make a last-ditch appeal to residents Tuesday morning to join them in the fight to stop the world's largest retailer.

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Wal-Mart Distribution Center Meets With Strong Resistance
Published: May 06,2009

MERCED - A massive Wal-Mart distribution center - which would service stores throughout the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley as far north as Sacramento over to the San Francisco Bay Area - is meeting with strong resistance from residents here, according to letters sent to the City here.

Hundreds of Merced residents have expressed serious concerns - from air pollution and the safety of children in nearby schools to traffic and sinking property values - over the 1.2 million-square-foot facility planned for their city.

A news conference held Thursday, April 30, revealed the contents of some of hundreds of letters submitted to the City at the close of the 60-day comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

The City of Merced must now ensure that all EIR deficiencies are resolved and that there is an honest and thorough assessment of the impacts of the distribution center on the neighborhoods, and the environment.

The project is expected to generate hundreds of diesel trucks daily, exposing thousands of residents, including children in nearby schools and neighborhoods, to pollution as air quality worsens.

Property values of adjacent homes are expected to sink further because of the 230 acre size of the 1.2 million-square-foot Wal-Mart project.

"I am very concerned about the environmental hazards," wrote Jason Flores about the Wal-Mart facility. He said his family had developed respiratory problems already as residents of Merced. "I have nephews who are toddlers who live in the area...and with three schools within 2 miles (of the Wal-Mart) the Merced City Council should be taking the health of the community seriously."

The "huge increases" in truck traffic because "trucks and kids don't mix," wrote citizen David Martin in his letter to the City of Merced. He said he thinks the environmental laws are not being followed.

And, Jaime Enrique, a local teacher, wrote that he already has many students missing classes because of respiratory problems (22 percent of area children carry inhalers now).

"Please think thoroughly how this distribution center will affect students will respiratory issues," he said.

Coincidentally, the American Lung Association today/Wednesday released findings that the San Joaquin/Sacramento Valley remains the most polluted region in the country resulting in thousands of premature deaths because of air pollution.

Loose Lips: Distribute that idea elsewhere
MERCED SUN-STAR, Friday January 16, 2009

Would the pro-business Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce let the voice of the anti-Wal-Mart distribution center movement be heard in concert with the company's hired spokesman for the project? Nope.

The Stop Wal-Mart Action Team, or SWAT, sent a letter Wednesday to the chamber asking asking that it be able to present "an alternative vision for how to move Merced in a positive direction" during the chamber's "State of the Community" event Wednesday.

At the meeting, county honcho Dee Tatum, city leader John Bramble and smiley-face retailer spokesman Marko Mlikotin are set to speak. We think it'll go like this: Economy bad. Distribution center good.

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