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Planning Commission Continues Chevron Hearing Until April 10

After hearing over five hours of testimony from supporters and detractors of the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project, the Richmond Planning Commission hung it up well past midnight early this morning and adjourned until April 10, when the final ten-minute rebuttals will be heard before the commission considers what action to take.


Planner Lamont Thompson gave a quick overview followed by the City’s CEQA consultant, Ellen Garber of Shute Mihaly, who in very careful legalese seemed to give the Planning Commission an opening to recirculate the EIR based on the greenhouse gas issue.


In a meeting very tightly and impressively run by Chair Virginia Finlay, Chevron got one hour to make their initial pitch, which entailed a slick PowerPoint and a series of presentations by Chevron management. Opponents led off their hour with Henry Clark of the West County Toxics Coalition followed by Greg Karras of Communities for a Better Environment and several residents. Karras focused on the issue of the crude slate, claiming that Chevron was building a project that could process oil with more impurities but not providing information on what would happen to the impurities. Karras accused Chevron of hiding much of the technical information required to provide the type of analysis required by CEQA.


Because of the late hour, many of the hundreds of speakers who had signed up for one-minute slots had gone home to bed. One speaker, critical of the project, complained that the supporters, who were mostly out-of-town residents and Chevron employees or persons with some other connection to Chevron, had packed the City Council Chamber early while the detractors had to wait outside in a tent with no toilet facilities for their turn to speak.