Environmental Health (News)
The council had the opportunity — indeed, the obligation — to ensure the project not proceed without important public health and environmental safeguards in place, to be negotiated in a public and transparent process.
However, the council majority (Maria Viramontes, Nat Bates, John Marquez, Ludmyrna Lopez, and Harpreet Sandhu) betrayed the communities they were elected to represent.
Ardent concerns expressed by Richmond families, neighborhood groups, environmentalists and even State Attorney General Jerry Brown fell on deaf ears.
Dean Metzger (July 17) and other opponents of a Bus Rapid Transit plan that would employ dedicated lanes, continue to quote the project’s obsolescent draft environmental report (DEIR) as if it’s holy writ, and as if everything preliminarily mentioned therein will inevitably come to pass. But this stance ignores the first word in the title: The 15-month-old DEIR is indeed merely a first draft that attempts to generally describe the project, but inevitably does so in a way that all interested parties know is incomplete at best and sometimes even misleading.
OAKLAND, Calif., July 23, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Alameda County Place Matters Team will host a three-day meeting July 24-26 at the Oakland Marriott to address the social conditions that lead to poor health outcomes in individuals from low-income and communities of color. Over 100 representatives from 24 U.S. cities and counties will attend. Place Matters is a national initiative of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' Health Policy Institute and is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
The council voted 5-4 to approve a conditional use permit for Chevron to replace a hydrogen plant, install new hydrogen-purifying equipment, build a new cogeneration power plant and replace other antiquated machinery.
"We're pleased with the vote and look forward to moving ahead with construction," said Dean O'Hair, a Chevron spokesman. "This project will make us more efficient and reliable than we already are."
After an emotional city council meeting that lasted until 2 a.m., the council on Thursday voted 5 – 4 in favor of an upgrade that Chevron officials said would allow them to generate less pollution and refine a wider range of oil.
Jessica Tovar of Communities for a Better Environment asserted that the environmental impact report submitted to the city was incomplete.
A divided Richmond City Council early Thursday morning approved Chevron's contentious plan to replace decades-old equipment at the local refinery, as well as a separate agreement for the oil company to provide $61.6 million for public safety, low-income healthcare and other services.
Environmental activists, who say Chevron's plans pose a public health risk that has not been fully studied, immediately shouted 'Shame on you!' from the audience and vowed to vote councilmembers out of office.
Councilwoman Ludmyrna Lopez defended the decision, saying a series of measures will require Chevron to cut emissions and other impacts.
Hundreds of people on both sides of the issue jammed into Richmond City Council meetings on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Chevron wants to upgrade its facility by building a new power plant, hydrogen plant and reformer.
Representatives of the oil giant said the improvements would allow the refining of a wider range of oil.
But environmental groups argued the project would allow the company to refine heavier crude oil that would increase pollutants in the area.
by Carolyn Jones
More than 1,000 people jammed a Richmond City Council meeting Tuesday night to make impassioned pleas for and against Chevron's plan to expand its waterfront refinery.
The City Council is expected to meet again tonight to vote on the issue, which has galvanized environmentalists, community groups and labor unions.
"We're driving to the hospital while Chevron goes to the bank," said Rev. Kenneth Davis, a Richmond resident. "My health is not for sale."
Deliberation on Chevron's contentious bid to upgrade decades-old equipment at its Richmond refinery continues tonight.
The Richmond City Council recessed its decision-making hearing at about 12:05 a.m. today and will resume at 7 p.m. at Kennedy High School's multipurpose room.
The council must decide whether Chevron's plan to replace its power plant, hydrogen plant and reformer will move forward. The Planning Commission last month approved a permit along with about 70 provisions, but neither Chevron nor environmental activists are satisfied. Both are appealing that ruling to the council.