[Northern California (under Organizing)]

CBE has worked to build a healthy Richmond for over 20 years. Just over 100,000 residents live in Richmond, the majority of them people of color. Richmond is known as an industrial town, and Chevron’s oil refinery is Richmond’s biggest industrial player—and California’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

Richmond residents suffer from high rates of asthma, cancer and heart disease. In June 2009 the Richmond Health Survey was released examining chemical exposures in Richmond and Bolinas.  This research was made possible through a partnership between the Silent Spring Institute and CBE. This FAQ sheet outlines additional results of the research.

Chevron is the largest employer in town.  However, as Richmond is saddled with an unemployment rate of 18% as of 2011, it’s not clear how many of those employed at the Chevron refinery are Richmond residents. We know that statewide, oil refining is a poor jobs creator.  CBE research has shown that, compared with the statewide average for all business activity, oil refining creates ten times fewer jobs.

A CBE lawsuit, supported by community organizing, stopped plans in 2011 for a refinery expansion that would have enabled Chevron to process dirty crude oil. The expansion would have meant an annual increase of nearly a million tons of greenhouse gases and toxic emissions in local neighborhoods—but CBE defeated it with our allies at Asian Pacific Environmental Network, West County Toxics Coalition and Earthjustice.

Now in 2012, CBE has won a turning-point organizing victory in the fight for environmental justice in Richmond. CBE has led the campaign Less Pollution, More Jobs in Richmond, and the in the fall of 2011, the Planning Commission unanimously passed it. The Richmond City Council approved it as part of Richmond’s newest General Plan.

The Less Pollution, More Jobs policy would require large industrial facilities to use maximum energy efficiency for new projects (that includes expansions) and install the equipment that would permit the least emissions. Developers of major projects would have to offset new emissions locally.

That means any Chevron expansion would have to be vetted through local land use authority that would ideally ensure proper mitigation and local health benefits are secured for each project. And it means jobs: projects to replace aging equipment at existing facilities and rebuild with greener technology would create more local employment.

Energy and Climate Action Plan

Despite the presence of the Chevron refinery–the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter California–Richmond is still one of the first cities in the U.S. to include an Energy and Climate Change Element in its General Plan update. In 2009, the City of Richmond completed its first ever greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Based on the City of Richmond’s analysis of greenhouse gases inventory, we noticed that the city did not address reducing industrial and commercial sources of emissions, which comprised over 80% of the City’s total GHG emissions. CBE is still working on Chevron accountability to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy at the refinery, and is pushing a Climate Action Plan that will encourage these emissions to be reduced locally.

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Community Choice Energy

In 2011, a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) motion was introduced by City Councilmember Tom Butt to conduct a feasibility study with Marin Energy Authority and City of Richmond consultants. CBE participated in the first community meetings on CCA and spoke at the Richmond City Council. CCA would build local renewable energy, local jobs, and strong energy efficient measures.

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Chevron Refinery Explosion and Fire

Chevron Refinery fire 8-6-12 CBE 2

Media contacts regarding the Richmond Chevron refinery explosion and fire contact:

Media regarding the Chevron Refinery fire

(August 6, 2013) – “Protests mark anniversary of Chevron fire in Richmond.” KGO-TV

(August 6, 2013) - CBE Senior Scientist, Greg Karras on KPFA’s show, Up Front: refining of dirtier crude oil. Segment starts at 37:40.

(August 6, 2013) – “A year after a refinery explosion, Richmond, Calif., is fighting back.” Grist

(August 5, 2013) – “Chevron to pay $2 million for refinery fire.” San Francisco Chronicle

(August 5, 2013) – “Thousands Protest Chevron Oil Refinery in Richmond, California.” The Nation

(July 31, 2013) – “Activists to Protest Tar Sands Oil Refinery.” East Bay Express

(July 2, 2013) – “Chevron refinery blaze to cost Richmond, school district millions in property tax revenues.” Contra Costa Times

(April 26, 2013) – “RICHMOND: Damaged part of Chevron refinery reopens for production.” KTVU Channel 2

(April 19, 2013) – Greg Karras’s testimony on dirty crude versus inherently safer technology at landmark federal hearing on Chevron’s 2012 Richmond refinery fire.

(April 16, 2013) – “Environmental group offers “toxic tour” of city.” Richmond Confidential

(April 16, 2013) – “Federal investigation blames Chevron for refinery fire.” Daily Democrat

(April 4, 2013) – “RICHMOND: Repairs at refinery complete.” KTVU Channel 2

(March 28, 2013) – “Chevron cuts bonus for CEO, other execs.” San Francisco Chronicle

(March 1, 2013) – “Refinery safety collaborative holds first Richmond forum.” Richmond Confidential

(February 20, 2013) – “Labor and environmental groups join forces on refinery issues.” Richmond Confidential

(February 12, 2013) – “Not In Our Backyard: Fighting Pollution in Richmond, Ca.” National Radio Project

(February 1, 2013) – “Earnings report caps off week of mixed news for Chevron.” Richmond Confidential

(January 30, 2013) –  ”RICHMOND: Chevron plans to put refinery at full production raises trust issues.” Greg Karras speaks to KTVU Channel 2 about Chevron’s long history of ignoring safety at its Richmond refinery. KTVU

(December 20, 2012) The Morning Mix: Senior Scientist, Greg Karras, speaks about the fight to safely rebuild portions of the Richmond Chevron refinery that were damaged in the Aug. 6, 2012 fireKPFA

(Richmond, November 23, 2012) – “Chevron sidesteps call for cleaner tech.” Front page of the San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, November 9, 2012) – “Chevron says it will upgrade pipes.” San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, November 5, 2012) – “Overextended Cal OSHA challenged to keep track of Chevron refinery issues.”

Greg Karras interview on KTVU regarding aug 6 refinery fire

(Richmond,  November 4, 2012) – “SPECIAL REPORT: KTVU investigates past complaints filed against Chevron refinery.” Senior Scientist, Greg Karras, speaks to KTVU about the Aug 6 Chevron refinery fire. KTVU Channel 2

(Richmond,  October 15, 2012) – “Chevron ignored risk in ’11, workers say.” San Francisco Chronicle. UCommunities for a Better Environmentnchecked corrosion… was responsible for another fire at the plant last year that prompted workers to complain to regulators that the company was ignoring the problem

(Richmond, September 25, 2012) – “Chevron says pipe low on key protectant.“ San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, September 24, 2012) – “Community Groups Lean on Richmond Refinery To Change Practices.”  KCBS radio speaks at length with CBE Senior Scientist, Greg Karras, regarding the Chevron Richmond refinery fire investigation.  Time index 14:42 begins Greg’s interview

(Richmond, September 12, 2012) – “Board: Chevron failed to check bad pipe.” San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, September 11, 2012) – “Air Quailty District hosts informative session on refinery fire.” Richmond Confidential

(Richmond, September 7, 2012) – “Too few state oil refinery-safety checks.” San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, August 27, 2012) – “Few concrete answers to the Chevron fire“ San Francisco Chronicle

Greg Karras interviewed by Channel 2 KTVU(Richmond, August 24, 2012) – KTVU, Bay Area: CBE charges Chevron with knowledge of pipe corrosion issues (video).  CBE senior staff researcher Greg Karras interviewed

(Richmond, August 20, 2012) – CBE Richmond Organizer Andrés Soto interviewed by KCBS, San Francisco: In Richmond, Chevron Hustles To Repair Refinery, Scrub Soot (video).

(Richmond, August 19, 2012) – “Refinery smoke blew past air monitors“  San Francisco Chronicle

(Richmond, August 15, 2012) – “Chevron fire ignited by idling rig?“ San Francisco Chronicle. Notes CBE’s role in participating in the investigation in the cause of the fire

(Richmond, August 12, 2012) – “Chevron’s tense relations with Richmond.” San Francisco Chronicle.
(Richmond, August 12, 2012) – “Editorial: Chevron fire should be a wake-up call.” The Sacramento Bee 
(Richmond, August 10, 2012) – Greg Karras is interviewed on KPFA’s show, Up Front, regarding the Richmond Chevron refinery explosion and fire

CBE organizer, Andres Soto, speaks to Amy Goodman about the Richmond refinery fire(Richmond, August 8, 2012) – “Chevron Oil Refinery Fire in Richmond, California Forces Over 900 Residents to Hospitals.” Democracy Now.  CBE Organizer, Andres Soto, speaks to Amy Goodman about the Richmond refinery fire

Richmond air quality safe, analysis says.“ San Francisco Chronicle.  “Why is the government saying the exact opposite of what the hospital and the people are saying?” said Greg Karras, senior scientist

Refinery warning worked-mostly.” San Francisco Chronicle.  “It’s tantamount to a complete failure… Even for the people who got the calls, it was too late,” Andres Soto
Peril in refinery’s neighborhood.” San Francisco Chronicle. Chevron again will need to explain to the community why the Richmond refinery is worth the risks that accompany it
CBE Richmond Organizer, Andres Soto and Senior Scientist, Greg Karras, are featured on KPFA’s morning show Up Front regarding the Chevron refinery explosion and fire
Chevron Refinery Fire:“ KQED Radio speaks to CBE Senior Scientist, Greg Karras, regarding the public health and safety implications of the 8/6 Chevron Refinery explosion and fire