Tom Butt for Richmond City Council The Tom Butt E-Forum About Tom Butt Platform Endorsements of Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt Accomplishments Contribute to Tom Butt for Richmond City Council Contact Tom Butt Tom Butt Archives
E-Mail Forum
Jerry Brown Remains Skeptical of Chevron EIR

With a Richmond Planning Commission hearing on the Chevron “Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project” only 12 days away on March 20, 2008, California Attorney General remains critical of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), which he says does not meet legal requirements of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act).


In a letter dated March 6, 2008, to the City of Richmond (Click here for a copy), Brown states: “We are concerned that the FEIR fails to make a finding on the significance of the GHG emissions from the Project and that its proposed greenhouse gas-related mitigation measures are too uncertain and undefined to support a determination that they will be effective. In addition, the FEIR’s finding that the VOC emissions are now below the significance threshold is not adequately supported, its discussion of flaring impacts lacks sufficient detail and relies on a document that does not yet exist, and the absence of crude slate parameters leaves open the issues of future pollution.”


Chevron has denied that it plans to reconfigure the Richmond Refinery to refine crude that is described as “heavier” or “dirtier,” i.e., with more impurities, but a press release from Chevron carried in the SF Business Times, notes that the company has tested methods for refining “heavy and ultra-heavy crude oil” at Richmond and is incorporating that technology into its refinery in Pascagoula, MI.


Chevron Corp. will test a process to make fuel more efficiently at a refinery in Pascagoula, Miss.

San Ramon-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) has been doing a lot of work at the refinery, both repairs and upgrades, in the last year. The No. 2 crude unit at the refinery, which is on the Gulf Coast between Mobile, Ala., and Biloxi, Miss., was knocked out by a fire Aug. 16. The loss of production there bit into Chevron's subsequent profit. That unit was fixed last month.

This new test plant will use a technique called vacuum resid slurry hydrocracking, or VRSH, to increase the yields of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from heavy and ultra-heavy crude oil. Its capacity will be 3,500 barrels per day and construction on the unit will start later this year. Chevron has already gotten the permits it needs.

The company has tested VRSH at its refinery in Richmond.

Chevron also plans about $500 million in work to upgrade the Pascagoula refinery. That upgrade should be done by 2010 and could boost production there by 10 percent or 600,000 gallons per day. The upgrade, called the Continuous Catalyst Regeneration Project, will add some 700 jobs to the refinery.

It's the company's largest wholly owned oil refinery.


For its part, the City of Richmond staff has thwarted any attempts to find deficiencies in the FEIR or to have it re-circulated. Staff is bent on getting this project to the Planning Commission, getting the FEIR certified and the project permitted as quickly as possible.


Only the people of Richmond, the Planning Commission, and ultimately the Richmond City Council stand in the way of a Conditional Use Permit for Chevron for a project that will result in more pollution, more greenhouse gas emissions and more impacts on the health, safety and welfare than the already precipitous operation that currently exists at the Chevron Richmond refinery.


We should be thankful that California’s attorney general cares more for the people of Richmond than our own staff that we pay and depend on to protect the healthy, safety and welfare of our residents and businesses.