Community rallies ahead of Richmond planning commission hearings on Chevron refinery modernization plan

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

Flyer Opposing Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Plan

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  1. says

    Chevron Press release ahead of event:

    Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Announces More Than 10,000 Richmond Residents Have Endorsed its Newer, Safer, Cleaner Refinery Modernization Project

    RICHMOND, Calif., July 9, 2014 – Chevron U.S.A. Inc.’s Richmond Refinery (Chevron Richmond) announced today at the Richmond Planning Commission Meeting that more than 10,000 Richmond residents have pledged their support for the company’s Modernization Project. The Richmond Planning Commission is meeting this week to consider certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approval of the conditional use permit for the project.

    “We are deeply appreciative of the community’s overwhelming endorsement of the project,” said Kory Judd, Richmond Refinery General Manager. “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 help make that possible.”

    The $1 billion investment to modernize the refinery 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.

    The main project components include replacing a 1960s hydrogen plant with modern technology that is inherently safer, cleaner and 20 percent more energy efficient. The new plant will produce higher-quality hydrogen more efficiently and reliably. The project will give the refinery flexibility to process crude oil blends containing higher levels of sulfur, while meeting strict environmental regulations. In addition, flanges, valves, vessels and other components that are consistent with Best Available Control Technology (BACT), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s standard for regulating air pollution under the Clean Air Act, will be installed throughout the refinery.

    Additionally, Chevron Richmond listened to the community’s feedback on what they expect from the Modernization Project and worked with the City to ensure the community’s concerns were addressed in the final EIR. This has resulted in additional commitments to environmental controls that make the project even better and go above and beyond what is required by California’s tough environmental regulating standards.

    “We appreciate that Chevron has been open and transparent throughout this process,” said Rosa Lara, 23rd Street Merchant Association President and Richmond resident. “They have knocked on doors and talked to thousands of residents to have a conversation with Richmond about how this important project will benefit our community.”

    It is anticipated the Richmond City Council will make a final decision on the project later in July.

    For more information about the Modernization Project and how it will benefit the community, visit http://www.richmondproud.com/chevron.

    About Chevron
    Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation which is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company’s success is driven by the ingenuity and commitment of its employees and their application of the most innovative technologies in the world. Chevron is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. The company explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and other energy products; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at http://www.chevron.com (http://www.chevron.com/).

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    Contact: Melissa Ritchie, Chevron policy, government and public affairs representative, (510) 242-4700, [email protected]