| Join Us at Several Key Events This Month!
The stakes are rising over local community efforts to make Chevron's Richmond refinery cleaner, safer and a better neighbor.
Chevron has responded to these efforts by threatening to shut down the refinery--pitting neighbor against neighbor and the "environment against jobs."
It doesn't have to be this way.
Global Exchange is among those that would like to see the refinery ultimately replaced with green, sustainable, and healthy jobs and industries. But the road to get there should be laced with transparency, communication, good planning, and a great deal of responsibility born by Chevron for cleaning up its toxic mess and paying for workers to transition into new employment. It should not be laced with threats, mistrust, and lies, which is the course Chevron is currently on.
In the last few weeks, the discussion has intensified as Chevron's financials revealed large losses from its downstream operations. Chevron spokesperson Lloyd Avram said in January, "...to make our downstream operations more profitable long-term we are reducing the size and complexity of our downstream operation. That means fewer positions, and fewer employees." And "It is possible that at some point we could make a decision to dispose of assets such as refineries. It is possible and likely that we will exit some markets." The rumors about closing the Richmond refinery began in earnest in November, when Chevron spokesmen hinted at closure to both the New York Times and NPR, the latter resulting in the headline, "Chevron Threatens to Leave Longtime Home."
However, a close look at Chevron's financials and discussions with leading experts leads me and many others to conclude that Chevron threats to close the refinery are hallow, and have just two goals: (1) help Chevron block local efforts to reign in the refinery as it appeals a court order forcing it to halt its plans to retool to burn heavier more polluting oil in Richmond; and (2) let Chevron blame any job loss in Richmond on the environmental, public health and EJ community, rather than on itself.
Communities for a Better Environment, West County Toxics Coalition, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network won their efforts to block Chevron's retooling in court. Chevron is appealing that ruling. We join these groups in asking for your support today!
1) Tomorrow! Community Mobilization at Richmond City Council Meeting Feb. 2, 5:00pm. 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond 94804. Food & drinks followed by Community Press Conference & Rally at 5:30pm. At 6:30pm Show your support at the Richmond City Council Meeting!
2) Feb. 19: Richmond Progressive Alliance Forum with Tom Butt & Antonia Juhasz. Join the Richmond Progressive Alliance, Richmond City Council Member Tom Butt, and Global Exchange Chevron Program Director Antonia Juhasz for a public forum on Chevron's threats to close the Richmond refinery. 7pm at the Richmond Progressive Alliance office, 317 11th Street, Richmond 94801.
3) Feb. 23: Chevron's Day in Court in SF
Chevron has appealed the court order halting its Richmond refinery retooling. Show your support for CBE, APEN, and West County Toxics Coalition at the Court of Appeals Hearing in San Francisco (case number A125618) at 350 McAllister Street (near Civic Center BART) San Francisco 94102 at 9:30am.
4) Sign the Community Support Letter for clean air, good jobs, and a healthier Richmond!
"Chevron's Fight with Richmond Intensifies," David Baker, The San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 2010.
"Chevron Owes More to Richmond (and California)," Antonia Juhasz, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 17, 2009.
Communities for a Better Environment website on its Chevron Campaign.
Director, The Chevron Program at Global Exchange