Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blackwater Won't Build in Potrero

Blackwater's opponents are rejoicing that the company is not going ahead with a planned facility on a site in Potrero, CA (pictured). What caused the private security contrator to change its mind? Fiery environmentalists? Political protesters? Hippie pacifists? Actually, it was the acoustics.

"Recent noise tests indicated that sound levels in the bowl-shaped valley exceeded the county limits and would have been prohibitively expensive to fix," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"The decision was ultimately made yesterday based on the fact that there was no feasible mitigation with regard to our noise tests," Brian Bonfiglio, Blackwater vice president, told the Associated Press "You'd basically have to put roofs on every single range. It's not workable."

"Blackwater has maintained its position from the very beginning that if we could not meet or exceed (California) and San Diego County guidelines that we would not proceed, and we are keeping to that commitment," Bonfiglio was reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune as saying.

Still, some are tempted to read more into the story. A source close to Blackwater lays these notions to rest: "The company decided for business reasons that the site wasn't worth the planned investment. It could have countered the protesters and challenged the recall vote with a very modest outlay, but opted out completely. [Blackwater] requires either more land or a topography surrounded by high and steep hills to contain the shooting noise.... For the protesters to claim victory is like claiming credit for the sunrise."

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