S.F. Bay herring fishermen sue PG&E

More than 50 acres of residential and tourist areas in San Francisco have been contaminated by toxic chemicals from former PG&E refineries that operated along the northern waterfront more than a century ago, a federal complaint alleges.

The complaint filed on behalf of the San Francisco Herring Association, a group of about 50 commercial herring fisherman, and a Marina property owner against PG&E on Tuesday in U.S. District Court additionally charges that the utility giant hasn’t adequately addressed the contaminants over the decades.

“PG&E [is]not stepping up to meeting its responsibilities,” said Stuart Gross, counsel for the plaintiffs. “There are very significant pockets of contamination which PG&E has intentionally omitted any investigation of.”

The complaint, a precursor to a lawsuit, alleges PG&E dumped massive quantities of toxic chemicals, known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, from three manufactured gas plants in the late 1800s and early 1900s into what is now the Marina and Fisherman’s Wharf.

In addition to the contamination of The City’s northern land, large swaths of herring spawning habitat in the Bay have been affected by the chemicals, the complaint claims.

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