Richmond City Council to Vote on $1 Billion Chevron Refinery Project


RICHMOND — The Richmond City Council is set to vote Tuesday evening on a $1 billion modernization project proposed at Chevron’s Richmond refinery.

The meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and taking place at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium because of the large crowd expected, will continue a July 22 public hearing on the project during which nearly 100 community members spoke.

The council, which will not discuss the refinery project until 6:30 p.m. or later, is expected to decide whether to grant an appeal from Chevron or to back the Richmond Planning Commission’s conditions for the project.

The commission’s conditions include greater restrictions on emissions from the refinery, more monitoring and the replacement of aging pipes carrying high-sulfur oil.

The project would replace the refinery’s 1960s-era hydrogen plant with modern equipment and allow the refinery to produce more crude oil blends with higher sulfur levels, according to Chevron officials.

After getting pushback from community groups and state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the company agreed last week to accept the city Planning Commission’s requirement for a lower cap on greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the refinery project.

Chevron has also pledged to double its investment from $30 million to $60 million over a 10-year period for community programs that aim to lower greenhouse gas emissions, create green jobs, provide job training and send local students to college.

Despite the compromises, opponents of the project say Chevron isn’t going far enough to address the environmental impacts of the project and should give more than the $60 million over 10 years to community organizations.

Both opponents and supporters of the refinery project are expected to speak at Tuesday night’s meeting.

(Copyright 2014, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

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