A small group of residents interrupted a Richmond City Council meeting Tuesday demanding that
Chevron compensate the city and its residents for damage caused by the August 2012 refinery fire. The group also announced two events that will be held next month to commemorate the anniversary of the fire.
Six refinery employees sustained minor injuries in the fire at Richmond’s Chevron refinery, and 15,000 Richmond residents sought medical treatment after breathing polluted air.
The reputation of the City of Richmond has suffered because of Chevron, the protesters said holding signs that read, “Stop Chevron It Kills Us,” and “Chevron Fire Reduces Property Values, Make Chevron Pay.”
Richmond resident Juan Reardon told Richmond Confidential that while property values everywhere are going up, prices in Richmond have declined because of the fire. “Chevron should compensate the city and its residents for the losses,” he said.
Reardon said that Chevron should make sure that such accidents do not happen again. “They have to fix the place,” he said.
Later, addressing lawmakers, he said, “The city council should stand up for the City of Richmond against the greed of Chevron, which cares only about its profit.” The blaze polluted the air and caused damage to the health of kids and families, he added.
Mike Parker, a Richmond resident, told the council that property values plunged by 14 percent since the fire. “It hurts everybody,” he said. “City loses income and property owners suffer. [Richmond] should sue Chevron to compensate for the losses.”
The public council meeting followed a closed session with legal counsel regarding the Chevron issue. Details about what was discussed were not available.
In a statement released Wednesday, a Chevron spokesperson said, “Chevron U.S.A. Inc. is committed to continuing its ongoing discussions with the City of Richmond regarding how Chevron U.S.A. and the city can be effective community partners now and in the future.”
Two events are planned to mark the anniversary of the fire. The first will be a march in Richmond on Aug. 3. It will start at 10 a.m. at Richmond BART station and proceed down McDonald Avenue, to the
Richmond Parkway, Garrard Boulevard, and end at the Chevron gates at Point Richmond, where a rally will be held.
The second event, a memorial at the Richmond Civic Center Plaza, will be held on Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. A bell will toll 15 times to commemorate the fire.