James Steinbauer

Bay Area air-quality board approves aggressive, ‘unprecedented’ toxic-emissions regulations

The Bay Area air-quality board approved some of the most aggressive toxic-emissions regulations in California on Wednesday, a move one official described as “unprecedented.” The rule, passed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), reigns in toxic emissions at facilities varying from oil refineries to mom-and-pop dry cleaners. The unanimous vote is considered a victory for local environmental groups and communities living in the shadow of the Bay Area’s worst polluters, such as Chevron in Richmond. The rule…

Amid ‘nightmare’ budget cuts, EPA closing its Richmond lab

With “nightmare” budget cuts on the legislative slate, the EPA is closing its Region 9 lab in Richmond, where scientists perform everything from monitoring drinking water to watching over some of the worst toxic waste sites on the West Coast. It will be consolidating some of the lab’s services and moving others out of California.

MAP: An overview of every toxic, contaminated site in Richmond

Over the decades, a sprawling network of shuttered chemical plants and oil refineries has left harmful pollutants in Richmond’s air, water, and soil. According to data collected by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, the city is home to more than a hundred hazardous waste sites, including two highly contaminated, federally designated Superfund locations. Richmond Confidential’s “Toxics Map,” updated in the fall of 2017, details where the state is cleaning up and evaluating hazardous-waste sites, where cleanup is voluntary,…