A high stakes battle for the attention and understanding of the public and officials is underway in Richmond California as that city’s Planning Commission will meet Wednesday evening July 9 to consider certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and condition use permits covering Chevron’s Richmond Refinery Modernization plan approved and fast-tracked by the City Council.
Richmond Planning Commission meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Kennedy High School, 4300 Cutting Blvd in Richmond.
Chevron Richmond has announced an event to take place before the hearing where, “hundreds of residents, union members, Richmond Refinery employees” will make a “major announcement” about the broad community support for the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project.
That rally will be held from 5:00-6:00 p.m. across the street from Kennedy High School, at Easter Hill United Methodist Church and John F. Kennedy Park, Cutting Blvd at 39th Street, Richmond.
Richmond residents and union labor members will be joined by refinery employees to rally support for the $1 billion-dollar project that sources say “will replace some of the facility’s oldest processing equipment with more modern technology that is inherently safer and meets some of the nation’s toughest air quality standards.”
Meanwhile, opponents of the Modernization Plan are rallying supporters to pack the Richmond Planning Commission meeting to advocate that the Chevron plan does not go far enough and should be rejected for not modernizing all of the refinery and eliminating all harmful emissions.
Inn Vilayngeun, a member of APEN, a group organizing opposition to Chevron said, “I’ve lived and worked next to the Richmond refinery for 16 years and have gotten sick all of the time. Chevron must replace all of the old equipment and pipes in all of their operating units with best available technology for our health and safety.”
The Richmond Progressive Alliance has released talking points for opponents to use if they speak to the Richmond Planning Commission during comment period. While grudgingly admitting that “The Environmental Impact Report is a big step forward but it still has some holes,” the cheat sheet harps that:
- The Modernization Plan is designed to give Chevron more business flexibility with the capability to refine crude oil products containing higher percentages of sulphur.
- The plan is geared toward facility safety not emissions control; followed by a number of claims around monitoring, health risks, Green House and heavy metal emissions.
More interestingly, the RPA and other opponents hail a recent letter from California Attorney General Kamala Harris that also accepts the current EIR, but holds out that…
Chevron’s proposed project is unacceptable. An alternative scenario with no increase in greenhouse gases would be acceptable because it would not interfere with reaching California’s goal of significant greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, would not increase local toxic emissions in a community
According to Kory Judd, general manger of the Richmond Refinery, “More than 10,000 Richmond residents have already pledged their support because they know that modernization is as important to our community as it is to refinery operations. We want to continue to operate in this community for years to come. Modernization will make it possible.
‘The Refinery Modernization Project reflects a significant effort to achieve that vision. This important project replaces older equipment with more modern technologies that will help us become a newer, safer, cleaner refinery of the future. The project also delivers important community benefits, including 1,000 local construction jobs and a $30 million investment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs locally.”
FLYER OPPOSING CHEVRON RICHMOND REFINERY MODERNIZATION PLAN