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  Officials Move Penalty Money From Richmond to Sonoma County
September 4, 2010

The following story appeared in today’s Chronicle. What looks like good news for Richmond and the environment is actually the conclusion of a gigantic ripoff that has been in the works since at least 2007.
(09-03) 19:03 PDT Richmond, Calif. (AP) -- Chevron has agreed to pay $2.85 million for the restoration of 200-plus acres of San Francisco Bay wetlands as part of a settlement over contamination from its refinery.

Stephen Edinger of the California Department of Fish and Game says the restoration of wetlands is important because less than 10 percent of the bay's historic tidal marshes exist today.

Funds from the settlement will help restore 30 to 45 acres of tidal habitat in north Richmond and another section of affected shoreline in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The environmental injury case stems from the Chevron refinery's long-term wastewater discharges which contaminated soil in Castro Cove. The discharges ended in 1987.
A statement released by Chevron late Friday said the company had worked "cooperatively" to reach the settlement.

When it comes to spoiling a Richmond marsh, you would think that what happened in Richmond stays in Richmond. Unfortunately no. Despite repeated objections from the City of Richmond, Congressman George Miller and state legislators representing Richmond, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded a plan to use most of the money from a settlement with Chevron over Richmond pollution to restore wetlands in Sonoma County while allocating a token amount to Richmond.
For more history, see:

As part of a cover-up for stealing funding for Richmond’s own shoreline needs, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held an “open house” to provide information and seek comments about the plan on Wednesday, December 17, 2008. Although Richmond residents demanded that all the money stay in Richmond, government officials turned a deaf ear.
The total amount of funding, which had not been previously disclosed, will be used to restore 1,500 acres of marsh at Cullinan Ranch in Sonoma County and only a token “30-45 acres” in Richmond’s Breuner Marsh. The three agencies responsible for the project claimed that the Cullinan Ranch project was “nearly ready for implementation” while the Breuner Marsh project was “still in the conceptual stage.”
In fact, the Castro Cove settlement was initiated in a conspiracy by the three agencies as a secret funding source for their own Cullinan Ranch project, and they have been loath to consider other projects in Richmond, although at least a half-dozen appropriate and deserving Richmond projects have been suggested.
We also believe that the Trustee agencies have a conflict of interest in diverting the Castro Cove settlement funds from restoration of Richmond's shoreline to lands the USFWS owns and jointly administers with DFG as part of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Cullinan Ranch was purchased by the USFWS in 1992. See http://www.fws.gov/sfbayrefuges/San%20Pablo/San%20Pablo%20Gen.pdf for a map and info about the Refuge.
The learn more about the project, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ospr/Science/chevron_castro_cove.aspx.