Opponents of Dutra Materials’ proposed asphalt plant alongside the Petaluma River received some new ammunition from the U.S. Coast Guard.

After initially submitting a letter stating that barges moored at the proposed plant wouldn’t affect traffic on the river, the Coast Guard reversed itself in a new letter issued just before New Year’s. “After further review we have determined … your facility will create a navigational hazard to other users of the channel,” Coast Guard Capt. P.M Gugg said in a Dec. 29 letter to an engineering company representing Dutra. That, he said, would violate federal regulations. Dutra could seek permission to dredge along the shore beside the proposed plant so barges could be moored outside the channel, or it could ask the Corps of Engineers to relocate the river channel toward the eastern shore, which could create a conflict with a fishing pier adjacent to Petaluma’s Shollenberger Park.

The Board of Supervisors put off a vote on the Dutra application when the Coast Guard asked for more time. The vote was reset for Jan. 12.

There should be plenty of fireworks. And, with the board split 2-2, both sides will be trying to persuade Supervisor Efren Carrillo.

— Jim Sweeney