Environment

Penalties for some Chevron flares would triple under bill in California Legislature

Something went wrong at the Chevron Richmond Refinery on Aug. 10, 2021, as sulfur dioxide was released into the atmosphere and ignited. Residents saw fire shooting above the tree line and a thick cloud of black smoke billowing over the refinery’s fence, smothering houses and businesses. The flare, which prompted the lowest level alert on the Community Warning System, could be seen as far as Petaluma.  Flaring incidents at the refinery have increased sharply in recent years, though flaring is…

Public skeptical of Contra Costa County’s probe into Chevron’s 2021 spill

The Richmond community expressed distrust and skepticism Monday over a Contra Costa County-funded review of Chevron’s investigation into its 2021 diesel spill in San Francisco Bay.  AcuTech, a consultant contracted by the county, released its report about the spill last week and then presented it in a public meeting in Richmond, confirming Chevron’s findings that a corroded pipe and faulty leak detection system caused the spill. Around 800 gallons of a diesel-water mixture spilled into the bay on Feb. 9,…

County contractor signs off on Chevron spill investigation, saying the company ‘took the incident very seriously.’

The long awaited third-party review of the Chevron 2021 diesel spill in the San Francisco Bay was released this week, largely backing up Chevron’s findings that the spill was caused by a corroded pipe and an inadequate system to detect leaks.  The consultant, AcuTech, also concluded that Chevron’s hour-long delay in reporting the leak to authorities was not unreasonable.  AcuTech will present the report at a public meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Richmond Convention Center…

How will winter’s wet weather affect fire season in the East Bay?

Record rainfall last winter mitigated California’s severe drought and brought a slow start to fire season. But the wet weather hasn’t reduced the threat.  The heavy downpours that bombarded the Bay Area and the relatively cool weather that followed kept vegetation from drying out in the spring and early summer. But as the summer wears on, that vegetation will become fuel for fires, said Ranyee Chiang, director of the Meteorology and Measurement Division at Bay Area Air Quality Management District. …

PHOTOS: Earth Day 2023 at Unity Park

Richmond residents joined millions of people from around the world celebrating Earth Day on Saturday with activities built around protecting the environment and preserving the planet. In Richmond’s Unity Park, Urban Tilth, Rich City Rides, Moving Forward, Groundwork, Cal Cameron Institute, Building Blocks for Kids, the city of Richmond and other organizations promoted ways to get closer to nature and away from reliance on fossil fuels. Kids had a chance to interact with snakes, rabbits and turtles. Dozens of people…

Dozens of electric vehicle rentals coming to Richmond: ‘There will be more cars and more options for everybody’

As the price of gas increased in recent years, the 70-mile round trip from Richmond that Oscar Alcocer makes every Saturday to pick up his child in Walnut Creek became unaffordable in his 1995 Jeep Wrangler.  Alcocer cut his costs last year by switching to an electric vehicle when Charge Up Contra Costa, an electric car-share program, launched in Civic Center Plaza. The weekly visits were going smoothly, until recently, said Alcocer, a 41-year-old engineer at an aerospace company.  “One…

Public invited to view proposed Greenway bridge that could become a Richmond tourist attraction

It’s Bridge Week in Richmond and through Saturday, people can attend events that showcase the proposed Richmond Greenway Bridge over 23rd Street, a project that would close the Greenway trail’s remaining gap, providing an uninterrupted 17-mile biking and walking path from Berkeley to Marin County. The proposal grew out of the Richmond Greenway Gap Study, which was funded by a $280,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation. “It’s going to blow everyone’s minds. It’s going to be really cool!,”…

‘It’s just a beautiful experience’: Community groups plant trees to make Verde school greener.

For years, even on hot mornings and afternoons, Verde Elementary School students have spent their recess and physical education periods on a cracked and sun-drenched blacktop — a wide open space with colored lines drawing volleyball courts and soccer fields, a running track along the edge. But the school will soon live up to its colorful name, with green scenery to cover the blacktop and shade the kids. Last month, volunteers from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and 100K…

People of Richmond: What do you love about your city?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: What do you like most about living in Richmond? “I love being right on the water, I love that wherever I go I’m close to the water. I do the Bay Trail a lot, I live on the Bay Trail. I love watching the wildlife change through the seasons and I love…