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Chevron Richmond Refinery Call for Linking Profits to Safety
by Yolanda Lewis ( yolanda.lewis [at] blackeconomiccouncil.org )
Monday Sep 17th, 2012 9:11 PM
Community leaders question Chevron’s commitment to safety and concern for the Richmond community. A recent federal audit found that Cal/OSHA's industrial process safety unit was conducting "very few, if any" comprehensive workplace-safety inspections of refineries and chemical plants in the state.
Oakland, California September 17, 2012 - In response to the August 6, 2012 Chevron Richmond California refinery fire, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) held a meeting in San Francisco, CA to provide an overview of Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s actions.

Investigations by federal, state and local regulatory agencies in response to the incident have released information that cause community leaders to call into question industry best practices, the foundation for measuring safety. Recently, Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton stated, “Chevron’s Richmond facility scores well in comparison with other Bay Area refineries” when addressing concerns about the companies safety record.

The Black Economic Council will be meeting with more than 100 Black pastors across California to consider a new approach to safety and profits that promotes safety above profits, but also encourages a profitable solution.

Community leaders question Chevron’s commitment to safety and concern for the Richmond community. Yolanda Lewis, Chief Deputy for the Black Economic Council responded to Hearne’s statistic that Chevron has decreased air emissions by 65% since the 1970’s.

“Imagine a system where profits were directly tied to the safety of a company’s products and / or services?” Lewis stated. “Do you believe that 65% would be an acceptable increase in profits since the 1970’s when gas was less than one dollar per gallon?”

The BEC will request a meeting with Chevron’s CEO in Richmond to meet with the Black community and Black pastors from all over California to devise a plan well beyond the capability of any state or federal regulatory authorities. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr., emeritus pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church stated, “The sacred texts of our faith traditions remind us to not distort justice, and Deuteronomy 16: 20 says justice, and only justice, you shall pursue.”

Chevron Richmond refinery manager, Nigel Hearne, spoke on behalf of Chevron at the meeting to ensure regulators and the community that the oil giant believes that safety drives good business. Hearne stated that Chevron is committed to safety, and that any statements to the contrary are not accurate.

A recent federal audit found that Cal/OSHA's industrial process safety unit was conducting "very few, if any" comprehensive workplace-safety inspections of refineries and chemical plants in the state.

The Black Economic Council will host the 2nd Annual Game Changers and Bridge Builders Awards and Luncheon on Tuesday October 16, 2012 at the Marriott City Center 1001 Broadway Oakland, California 94610 from 10 AM to 2 PM. The event will showcase, for industry, regulators and the community, technologies that can reduce daily emissions for coal power plants, oil refineries and mines to meet and exceed current EPA standards.

An inventor, who has developed a technology solution to prevent the reoccurrence of the failed pipes due to sulfur corrosion, will receive an award at this event. Limited free registration for the event is available at http://becawards2012.eventbrite.com.


About The Black Economic Council
Headquartered in Northern California, the Black Economic Council (BEC) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to further the economic platform of Black Americans and underserved communities by facilitating business development, sustainability and the creation of jobs.