Environment

The Chevron Strike Continues

By Shiva Mishek 

Photo Credit: @USWLocal5Richmond on Instagram

“To strike at a man's food and shelter is to strike at his life, and in a society organized on a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.”

—Jack London, The Scab, 1904

This week, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5 enters its seventh week on strike at the Richmond Chevron refinery. Over 500 Chevron employees have been on strike since March 21, rejecting a contract that would codify a meager raise, unsafe working conditions, and Chevron’s so-called “standby” policy.

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Point Molate: The Real Story

By Jeff Kilbreth

Until two years ago, the battle for Point Molate was largely waged between developers and environmentalists. Those in favor of development assumed that the resulting building jobs and property taxes would be great for Richmond, while environmentalists saw a precious opportunity to create the last ridge-to-shoreline park on the San Francisco Bay. 

It was simply a tough call between two perfectly reasonable points of view. Developing Point Molate would create a lot of jobs for a period of time, and Richmond undoubtedly needs to expand its tax base.

What changed?

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Grid Alternatives’ No-Cost Solar Program for Richmond

By Catalina Coz

Grassroots support for advancing solar energy in Richmond goes back to the early 2000s. Since then, we have had nonprofit businesses train residents in solar installations, among other green-collar jobs. Grid Alternatives came along in 2015 as a city-sponsored program that uses city funding to provide free solar to low-income homeowners in Richmond and North Richmond (including unincorporated North Richmond). Over the last ten years, Grid Alternatives has solarized over 500 homes in Richmond.

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Listening Project Announcements for April 2022

By Alfredo Angulo

Rich City Rides (RCR) and Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) Vegan Pop Up with student organizer Zack and LP organizers Alfredo and Marisol

The Listening Project has been hard at work since you last heard from us! While some changes have occurred, our mission remains the same: to share the stories and amplify the voices most harmed by the climate crisis and fossil fuel operations in Richmond.

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Another Victory Over the Fossil Fuel Industry in Richmond

Train tracks richmond

Photo Credit: Tony Tamayo

On Friday, November 12, the City of Richmond announced it had finally reached a settlement agreement with the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation. After 18 months of litigation, the parties agreed to end the storage of coal and petroleum coke (“petcoke”) in Richmond by 2027. The settlement ends a legal battle between Richmond, three fossil fuel companies, and the state of Utah that was fought in both state and federal court. The outcome is being hailed as a major win for environmental justice organizations and Richmond residents alike. 

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Acts of Political Courage Should Never Go Unrecognized

Green Mountains from Momoyogusa, Kamisaka Sekka (1909)

 

On October 19th, the Richmond City Council voted 4 to 3 instructing the City Attorney to file a brief in the federal appeals court case in support of Point Molate Alliance and other community groups who have sued the city for voting behind closed doors on the Point Molate settlement. After opposing us, the city will now go on record admitting that it violated the Brown Act and California's land use law when it secretly approved the settlement with the failed casino developers. This illegal 2019 agreement resulted in the proposed luxury housing project we are fighting today.

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Full Electrification: Richmond’s Latest Push for Green Energy

Power Plant, by Henry Lyman Saÿen

In early 2020, Richmond adopted an ordinance implementing a limited ban on new natural gas infrastructure in the city. This measure addressed a crucial component of global warming: buildings are a serious source of pollution. Their use of fossil fuels accounts for roughly 12% of the United States’s greenhouse gas emissions.

While a substantial step in the right direction, the original ordinance fell short of achieving a true natural gas ban. For example, it permits new residential construction that utilizes natural gas kitchen appliances and in-residence fireplaces. Such uses require the construction of gas pipelines throughout buildings and beneath city streets. 

On September 21, Councilmember Eduardo Martinez brought the issue before the City Council, which seeks to close the loopholes allowed by the 2020 measure. The new ordinance would ban natural gas infrastructure in all new buildings in the city, with few exceptions.

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The Golden Hour to Save Point Molate is Now

Photo credit: Jack Scheinman

Point Molate is Richmond’s wide, expansive, and beautiful public land as well as Ohlone sacred land. It is an ecological treasure rich in cultural and social history. Protecting rare biological and sacred cultural resources, access to nature, and recreation for the public is an environmental justice solution in a city crying out for climate safeguards and racial equity. SunCal’s proposed private residential enclave at Point Molate would burden our city’s residents with infrastructure costs that Richmond can ill afford. Community leaders, public agencies, and foundations are stepping up to support this world-class designated parkland.

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Youth Speak Out on Climate Crisis in Richmond

On September 25th, youth from across Richmond came together to share their perspectives and experiences growing up during the climate crisis in our city. The Listening Project team organized the Youth Listening Project (YLP) with the goal of listening to understand and empowering youth in our community to lead. As young people, we are often told to sit back and let the elders and adults lead, but many of those decision-makers have led us to an environmental reality of severe droughts, constant wildfires, and life-threatening air, water, and soil pollution in our communities. These environmental crises are mirrored with communal crises of inequities and public safety.

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Excavation of Toxic Material Begins at Site in Richmond

pennants made by Debbie Bayer, photo credit: Jin Zhu

The following is an update of the proposed cleanup of the HRP Campus Bay Development site, also known as AstraZeneca and formerly Stauffer Chemical. Those latter two company names reflect only a few of the recent owners of the 86-acre site on Richmond’s South shoreline.  The legacy of 100 plus years of chemical manufacturing remains buried:  550,000 cubic yards of mixed toxic material including VOCs (volatile organic compounds), heavy metals, TCEs (trichloroethylene), arsenic, etc. Contrary to community pleas for a comprehensive cleanup to remove of all the contaminants, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) approved a work plan to remove less than 2% of the toxics, cap the area, then build 4,000 housing units above the toxic sludge. Uncontained on the sides or the bottom, the toxic plumes will continue to leak into surrounding properties, including Stege Marsh and the San Francisco Bay. Sea level rise will force off-gassing toxics inland and upwards putting future residents at risk. The excavation work, paid for by Zeneca (AstraZenca) and carried out by Terraphase will begin soon and will continue during September and October. This work will take place on Lot 3, near South 49th St., and will likely be visible (and audible) from the Bay Trail. Only 200 notices were sent out by DTSC, mostly to nearby businesses, in English only. Nearby neighborhood residents were not informed. Real time air monitoring is not included in their plan. 

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