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Chevron and General Chemical Line Up for Expansion Projects
October 1, 2006

Richmondís two most dangerous industries, Chevron and General Chemical are in the process of seeking entitlements for expansion projects that may have important consequences for Richmond residents and businesses.

Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project

In 2005, Chevron submitted an application for a major refinery overhaul, the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project that consists of four main components: Hydrogen Plant Replacement, Reformer Replacement, Power Plant Replacement, and Hydrogen Purity Improvements. A hydrogen pipeline is part of the project. Other smaller projects involve the addition and replacement of storage tanks, additional truck traffic through the Marketing terminal, and a court-ordered cumulative impacts analysis of two recently construct LPG spheres.

The Notice of Preparation for the Chevron EIR is on the City of Richmond website.

Chevron submitted a draft project description a couple of months ago. Richmond Planning staff reviewed it and suggested numerous modifications. Staff comments were communicated to the EIR preparer, ESA, and a revised version is still being prepared. The revised draft may be circulated publicly as early as this month.


Unfortunately, there is little information available pending publication of the EIR.


General Chemical Bisulfate Production Unit


General Chemical is laying the political groundwork for an application to construct a Sodium Bisulfate Production Unit at its Richmond Works on Castro Street. I have already received identical letters from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Coronado Neighborhood Council supporting this project and urging approval, which seems strange because there is no action pending before the Richmond City Council. According to the Planning Department website, there is not even an application filed.


While sodium bisulfate appears to be a relatively benign product, compared to other chemicals processed at General Chemical, the early politicking caught my interest. In contrast to Chevron, which is laying low, General Chemical is apparently going public to build early support.