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Chevron's Richmond Refinery Fire: Another Case of Environmental and Community DestructionRalph E. Stone Salem-News.com
Chevron was the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California in 2009.
(SAN FRANCISCO) - Chevron's Richmond Refinery -- the company's second largest refinery -- recently spewed toxic smoke over Richmond and San Pablo, California, sending more than 14,000 people in the East Bay to medical facilities with smoke-related complaints. This is but the latest in Chevron's legacy of environmental and community destruction.
Chevron is the second largest oil company in the United States and the third largest corporation in the U.S. with $26.9 billion in 2011 profits. It explores for, produces, refines, transports and markets oil, natural gas, and gasoline. Major operations also include chemical, coal mining and power generation companies. But Chevron's main revenues is from its oil and gasoline businesses.
Chevron's world headquarters is located in San Ramon, California. Its refinery in Richmond, California is one a the largest in the U.S. More than 25,000 people live within three miles of the refinery. According to the U.S. Census,about 16 percent of the residents live below the federal poverty line, and about 80 percent of the residents are listed as “minorities." (http://quickfacts.census.gov/
Within a mile of the refinery are businesses, houses, a school and playgrounds.
One of Chevron's ads states, "Protecting the planet is everyone's job. I agree. What Chevron is doing. . . (http://www.chevron.com/
According to the California Air Resources Board (www.arb.ca.gov), Chevron was the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in California in 2009 and a high priority violator (HPV) of the Clean Air Act since at least 2006. HPV is the most serious level of violation noted by the EPA.
A 2008 Brown University toxic exposure study concluded that the air inside the homes of Richmond residents is more toxic than outside due to harmful pollutants from the refinery, which can cause respiratory diseases. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/
In addition, an October 2010 County Asthma Profile found that county residents, as compared to all Californians, are hospitalized for asthma at higher rates; have higher death rates due to asthma, particularly among adults ages 65 and older; and have higher rates of visits to the emergency doctor, particularly for children aged 0 to 4 years. (http://www.californiabreathi
For the sake of the community and the environment, it is time for federal and state regulators to force Chevron to use its vast resources to finally clean up its act.
Source: The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report (may 2011) (http://truecostofchevron.com/
Salem-News.com writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many Salem-News.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address firstname.lastname@example.org
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