Environment

Global Anti-Chevron Day 2021

Hundreds of Richmond residents participated in the 8th annual Global Anti-Chevron Day on May 21, 2021. Linking the struggles for justice in Richmond, Ecuador and Myanmar, communities damaged by Chevron shared their stories about the impact of the oil company’s environmental destruction and human rights violations. This annual action occurs in advance of Chevron’s annual shareholder’s meeting.

Photo credit: Arthur Koch, Artist credit: David Solnit

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Urgent Response Needed! Send public comment to DTSC by June 25!

The City of Richmond signed a Development Agreement last December allowing HRP Campus Bay Property, LLC to build 4,000 residential units on top of the old Stauffer Chemical waste site, currently owned by Astra-Zeneca. Before the Development Agreement can be finalized, however, the developer (HRP) and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), must sign off on a Prospective Purchaser Agreement allowing the transfer of the land from Zeneca (aka Cherokee Simeon LLC) to HRP. The Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) is a legal document indemnifying both the DTSC and the purchaser (HRP) from lawsuits. The public has until June 25 to comment on this agreement.

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Why Richmond Should Worry About Sea Level Rise at the Zeneca Site

By Tarnel Abbott

“The tides are rising and so are we.”

This has become a rallying cry for climate activists, and Richmond, with its 32 miles of shoreline, must rise up to prevent rising sea levels from poisoning our people and our Bay. Just a couple feet above sea level north of Point Isabel, developers are planning to build a 4,000-unit housing development on top of the toxic “Zeneca site” while leaving its 550,000 cubic yards of toxic material in place.

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Anti-Chevron Day Protest at Richmond Refinery May 21st 12-1:30

Join this in-person, global event to hear about the injustices Chevron has committed around the world against people’s health, economic stability, and their right to protest.  People from Ecuador to Australia to right here in Richmond are building the global movement to stop them!  We will be gathering at the Richmond Chevron Refinery at noon on Friday, May 21st.  You can RSVP on Facebook if you choose.

Saving Richmond's Shoreline- No Housing on a Toxic Waste Dump!

By Tarnel Abbott and Deborah Bayer

Where We Stand Now

The Richmond Shoreline Alliance, Citizens for East Shore Parks, Sierra Club, Green Action and the Sunflower Alliance, have filed a lawsuit against the City of Richmond, based on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and due process violations, to stop the proposed development of housing on top of the contaminated soil of the AstraZeneca (former Stauffer Chemical) site.  The community is advocating for the City to insist on a full clean up before any housing is built. The lawsuit and the development have been discussed in Closed Session twice already, but the public is not privy to how those discussions are going.

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It’s Time for Richmond to Plan for a Just Transition

By Eduardo Martinez, Richmond City Councilmember, and Eli Moore

The Chevron oil spill into the Bay in February is only the latest in a series of devastating fires and releases of toxic chemicals into the air, water and soil of Richmond and the region.

The refinery is also the second largest source of greenhouse gases in all of California. 

Scientists have determined that the only way for California to reach its goals for overcoming the climate crisis is to start closing refineries and switching to renewable energy sources. 

For years, the prospect of the refinery closing was only a threat Chevron used against us, to silence calls for public health protections and fair corporate taxes. But lately the scenario of a refinery closure is much more visible, with refineries in Rodeo and Martinez both announcing in the past year that they were halting fossil fuel processing. The economic effects of Covid 19 have rocked the oil industry, and that has speeded up a process that was already underway to replace fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy sources.  The end of oil refining is actually in sight. Even General Motors realizes this and has planned to end its production of gas-powered cars by 2035.

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Street Sweeping: News of its Death are Greatly Exaggerated

There is still street sweeping in Richmond.  Look at this map to find out when the street sweepers come to your neighborhood, and do your best to move your vehicles on sweeping days to make way for them.

To set the record straight:

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Pt. Molate Subsequent Environmental Impact Report scoping session 7/29/19

Please attend the Pt Molate “Subsequent Environmental Impact Report” (SEIR) scoping session on July 29, at 6 PM in the Council chambers, 450 Civic Center Plaza. Mayor Butt and City staff are trying to “amend” the Environmental Impact Report from the failed Pt Molate casino plan and adapt it to the SunCal housing tract proposal.
The research for the casino project EIR was done over ten years ago. Things have changed since then, including increased traffic and threat of fire in a high fire area, such as Point Molate. We also know more about climate change and sea-level rise impacts, the importance to SF Bay health of Pt Molate’s 50-acres of eelgrass meadows and their upland native grassland habitats, where most the SunCal housing is proposed to be built. 
The Pt. Molate Alliance is meeting outside City Hall at 5:30 PM. Please join, or arrive at least 15 minutes before the meeting begins at 6 PM to fill out a speaker's card. If you do not want to speak, bring a sign or come to show your support. This is a very important meeting to attend to make sure the City does a full Environmental Impact Report for Pt Molate. 
Here are a few talking points:

The proposed project is now 2200 residential units.  This was never voted on by the council and thus is not a legal alternative.

Moreover, this is a significantly different project from the Casino alternative and all other alternatives in the old EIS/EIR. A full new EIR needs to be prepared for evaluation and comment.

EIS/EIR was approved over a decade ago. Circumstances have changed significantly, especially traffic conditions and climate change impacts.  Even if the information in the old EIS/EIR was valid at the time of that document, with the length of time and major changes in conditions, the city must start from scratch and do a full new analysis since the old EIS/EIR is no longer relevant

It also inconsistent with the General Plan that designates the Pt Molate area as open space to protect environmental values.

The proposed project is contrary to the Plan Bay Area policies for regional development. Adopted in 2013, Plan Bay Area is our first regional plan to incorporate a state-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy. It identified Preferred Development Areas or PDAs close to public transit, existing commercial and retail uses so as to reduce auto traffic and emissions. Pt Molate is not one of Richmond’s five PDAs. The City will need to evaluate how it can comply with Plan Bay Area policies and the impacts for failing to do so.

The City needs to evaluate the recently released Hatch fiscal impact report and explain how the City can approve any project that could result in the city losing $3.00+ million in revenue from the proposed development.

The City’s Notice of Preparation of the Pt Molate SEIR is here. Please submit written comments to Lina Valesco, Richmond Planning Director, [email protected], by August 12th, at 4 PM. 
If you have questions, please email or call Pam Stello, Pt Molate Alliance Co-Chair, at [email protected].

Pt. Molate: A Jewel Worth Protecting

In the latest attempt to deny public input into the future of publicly-owned Point Molate, the newly- seated Richmond City Council voted Tuesday January 15, 2019 to amend the RFP on Point Molate, removing restrictions and gutting community benefits: No limit on number of units to be built, no limitation on building on southern watershed (AKA Drumlot 2), no affordable housing beyond City ordinance requirements, and no guarantee that financial burden will not fall on the City.

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Willis, Recinos, and Martinez Open Up Point Molate Process

Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) is pleased to announce that a motion regarding Point Molate, sponsored by RPA-endorsed Council Members Eduardo Martinez and Ada Recinos and Vice Mayor Melvin Willis, was unanimously passed Tuesday June 19, 2018. In the motion Staff was directed to make modifications to the timeline and scope of the Point Molate Land Use Visioning process to allow for more comprehensive outreach and meaningful community participation. This significant motion put forth by RPA council members has the goal of engaging more residents to participate in the decision-making process around Point Molate, something RPA has continuously fought for. Though originally critical of the motion, Mayor Butt voted with the progressive council members to improve on the work plan originally brought forth by consultants

Tuesday’s motion by Martinez, Recinos and Willis will:

1. Make sure that public input on is gathered from a minimum of 2,500 community members from across Richmond (via the website, workshops, pop-up events, youth forum and interviews).

2. Publicize community meetings, tours, forums and other activities widely and at least 30 days before the date of the event.

3. Provide at least 4 public tours of Pt. Molate with transportation, translation, and childcare as needed.

4. Include community-driven, special-topic forums as part of the community planning process. Some examples of potential forums would cover topics relating to:

  • Community Economics and Housing Forum
  • Public Uses of Pt. Molate Forum
  • Achieving Equity and Sustainability
  • Natural Resource Forum
  • Site Infrastructure Forum

5. Redirect market analysis and feasibility studies to include development benefits for Richmond residents.

6. Add a transparency component that gives progress reports on Council agenda and lists all organizations and businesses that are contacted and interviewed.

7. Add a real-time evaluation component for participants to give feedback after every workshop and event.

8. Solicit development proposals after City has completed zoning and made updates to the General Plan.

For more information about the role of the Richmond Progressive Alliance in protecting Point Molate, go to www.richmondprogressivealliance.net/environment.