Richmond Land Use Struggle Continues

April 27, 2012

CBE’s less pollution-more jobs land use policy has been accepted for further review. April 24, 2012: following two nights of fierce debate the Richmond City Council voted in favor of a General Plan 2030, which contains improved mass transit, air-quality monitoring, and amendments to the housing ordinance. These amendments have been advocated by the REDI (Richmond Equitable Development Initiative).

At the same meeting, a land-use policy intended to cut industrial air pollution and create jobs in low-income communities of color was accepted for further study by a five to two City Council vote. The policy would require large industrial facilities to use maximum energy efficiency for new projects, install least emitting equipment, support public transit, and offset new emissions locally when major projects are planned, rather than increase emissions. This innovative land-use policy was crafted by CBE and recommended for inclusion into the Richmond General Plan by the city’s Planning Commission.

At stake is community health and jobs.  Industrial air pollutants emitted by the Chevron refinery and other industries in Richmond are up to ten times higher than the regional or statewide averages on a per capita basis.  The Chevron refinery is also a poor economic generator.  Oil refining creates ten times fewer jobs, compared with the statewide average for all business activity.  According the EIR that analyzed the General Plan, further health and economic harms could result, if the City Council fails to adopts our less pollution-more jobs policy.

Read other Summer 2012 newsletter articles.