RICHMOND, Calif. – Residents and community organizations are congratulating the Richmond (Calif.) City Council for taking the first step in holding the Chevron refinery accountable for the massive August 6 fire that spewed an enormous cloud of toxic black smoke over the Bay Area and sent more than 15,000 local residents to hospitals.
Responding to strong evidence of a disturbing pattern of neglect and a disregard for the health and well-being of the surrounding community, the Richmond City Council voted this week to support a resolution that asks Chevron to be a part of Richmond’s transition away from dangerous and volatile energy sources towards a thriving local economy based on clean renewable energy.
As a next step, in support of the city council action and in opposition to Chevron’s historic neglect of community impacts from the refinery, members of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) along with a large number of other regional organizations will be working to increase awareness about the proposed transition to a clean energy economy.
“Our message to Chevron is simple,” said APEN local organizer Sandy Saeteurn, “be a good community member, be responsible, be accountable. The children, families and local businesses of Richmond deserve a good neighbor.”
The council asked Chevron to invest a portion of their billions in annual profits into the city of Richmond and neighboring cities. Community leaders are confident that implementation of the proposal would create jobs in the region through the development of renewable energy.
Chevron is being asked by residents to use the best available technology to prevent future catastrophic accidents as the corporation transitions its portfolio to include more clean and renewable energy.
“Chevron must invest in good jobs and economic development for Richmond residents,” said community leader Lipo Chanthanasack, and “like a good person, take full responsibility for the explosion and assure us this type of thing will never happen again.”
Some of the other regional organizations working with and supporting APEN in the effort to transition Chevron to a greener future include the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Occupy Richmond, Occupy Berkeley, Occupy Oakland Environmental Justice Committee, Richmond Progressive Alliance, United Native Americans, and West County Toxics Coalition
APEN is guided by a vision of a world where all people have clean and healthy environments where their communities can live, work, learn, play, and thrive.