Attorney General Kamala Harris says a $1 billion project to expand and modernize the Chevron refinery in Richmond may pose health and safety risks to the nearby community.
In a ten-page letter (below) addressed to Richmond’s planning department, Harris called Chevron’s safety analysis “incomplete” and said the project may increase air pollution in a community with some of the Bay Area’s highest rates of asthma-related hospitalizations.
Harris says the project could also increase the likelihood of accidents, such as the August 2012 fire that sent 15,000 Richmond residents to local hospitals, many with respiratory complaints.
Harris's letter asks whether expanding operations at the refinery runs counter to the state’s broader goals of slowing climate change.
Responding to Harris's letter, Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said the revised project would result in a “newer, safer, cleaner refinery,” that upgrades old equipment, while bringing 1,000 new local construction jobs to a community with a nearly 12 percent unemployment rate, three points above the state average.