Core Values

AshBritt responds to 'Bohemian' fire-cleanup coverage

In recent articles, the Bohemian did not include important facts when reporting about AshBritt Environmental’s involvement in last year’s wildfire debris cleanup in Sonoma and Napa counties (“Dirty Business,” March 6; “Cleanup Crew,” Feb. 13). Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight.

AshBritt started as a small, family operated landscaping firm that assisted as a subcontractor in debris recovery efforts in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew. Since then, we have successfully served more than 500 clients and been directly involved in the recovery efforts of more than 60 federally declared disasters in 19 states as a prime contractor. Our work has led to collaboration with many federal and state agencies, including FEMA, CalOES, CalEPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The greatest assurance we can provide is that during our 25 years in the emergency-response industry, we have never failed to complete a project.

Recently, the Bohemian reported that AshBritt and Tetra Tech were listed as defendants in a lawsuit over excavation of properties that were subject to cleanup under the USACE contracts after the 2017 wildfires in Sonoma County. What the paper failed to tell readers is that the same law firm had launched a parallel lawsuit against AshBritt and Tetra Tech, as well as ECC Contractors, for their role in cleanup work in Napa County, and those claims have already been dismissed, specifically against AshBritt.

In the lawsuit reported on last week, AshBritt’s role is limited to work performed on a single property, for which we strenuously deny the claim. In fact, ECC Contractors performed work on the majority of properties in that suit. ECC is currently one of the prime contractors for CalRecycle’s Camp fire and Woolsey fire in Paradise and Ventura, respectively.

AshBritt maintains the highest levels of safety, quality and integrity in conducting all of our services and operations. In this instance, our work was closely supervised by the USACE and was in strict compliance with its specifications. Furthermore, our excavation is consistent with the work of other prime contractors, and with previous state-managed and supervised CalRecycle debris-removal projects.

Another misleading item in the Bohemian‘s reporting is the implication about the company’s relationship with state lobbyist Darius Anderson. The emergency-response work mentioned in the article is a federal project for which he had no involvement or role. Other state contracts mentioned are competitively awarded or were not won by AshBritt. Simply put, he has had no role procuring or representing AshBritt in any of the work cited in several of the Bohemian‘s stories.

AshBritt is proud to have been a USACE contractor, and we stand by our work on the project and that of our over 30 local and California contractors that performed debris-removal on properties.

Now as the nation’s leading disaster-recovery firm, our core values about paying it forward are ever present—whether that is hiring local, small business contractors, as we did in Sonoma and Napa counties, or finding community-identified recovery projects like the Hopper Wall reconstruction project. We are there when communities need us.

Gerardo Castillo is chief of staff for AshBritt Environmental.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].

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