Richmond Resolution Calls For Changes From Chevron
The Richmond City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to take a tough stance with the Chevron refinery.
Chevron needs building permits from the city to fix a crude unit that was badly damaged in an August 6th fire. The city has a few things it wants, as well.
The Council voted to make future permits conditional on Chevron's use of "the highest standards and best technology in the repair of their crude unit."
The non-binding resolution asks the refinery to hire more Richmond residents and to install a system of fence-line air-quality monitors, which the company promised in 2010 as part of a tax settlement with the city.
The resolution also attempts to link the permits to a long-standing tax dispute over how much the refinery owes Chevron in property taxes.
City Councilman Tom Butt, who co-wrote the resolution said, "We're showing goodwill by committing to process these permits as fast as we can, and I think we expect Chevron to show good faith by not continuing to appeal their taxes."
Still, said Butt, he does not intend to hold up the permit process until the tax issue is resolved, and that the two issues can take their "parallel paths."
"What this does is set expectations for a good-faith relationship," said Butt.
On Monday, Chevron filed a court challenge to a Contra Costa County property tax appeals board decision that had boosted Chevron's tax bill by $27 million.
In a statement on Tuesday, the company cited its community service investments and its top-taxpayer status in the city, suggesting that that relationship could sour, should the rebuilding project become snagged in city politics.
"Our long-term future in Richmond is uncertain until our refinery modernization project is successfully permitted," said spokesman Derek Jensen.
"While we are continuing our community partnership programs in Richmond as the permitting process proceeds, we will not be in a position to make any additional long-term investment decisions in Richmond until the Renewal modernization project is successfully permitted."