Chevron Pollutes, Here’s What the People Did Back

From Yes Magazine:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/the-heat-is-on-chevron

The oil giant is becoming notorious as shareholders, mayors, and indigenous people criticize its actions.

by Sven Eberlein
Sep 12, 2013

The heat is on for Chevron. The oil giant has for decades shirked responsibility for a multitude of toxic transgressions. Now, a diverse coalition of stakeholders burned by the oil giant’s dirty business is using people power to push back.

Last month, 3,000 protesters marched on Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, Calif., to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the explosion and toxic cloud that sent 15,000 residents to local hospitals with respiratory problems.

Seventy activist groups, as well as labor unions, nurses, and city residents, took to the front gates of the refinery, expressing outrage at Chevron for ignoring its own inspectors’ recommendations to replace the corroded steel piping and calling out the company for its continued refusal to make safety improvements.

Sunflowers in hand as symbols of soil detoxification, protesters like Doria Robinson of Urban Tilth, a local group that operates more than a dozen community gardens in Richmond, spoke about the devastating effects of the toxic plume on the local ecology.

“We had to tear out all of the food we were growing because we didn’t know if it was contaminated or not,” Robinson recalled. “It was absolutely devastating.”

A day earlier, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin announced that the city had filed a lawsuit against Chevron, listing 14 other toxic gas releases since 1989 and accusing officials of maximizing profits and executive pay while ignoring public safety concerns.

Putting additional pressure on one of the biggest extractors of fossil fuel in the world, 350.org brought its Summer Heat campaign to the rally. They also brought author and activist Bill McKibben, who addressed the crowd and encouraged civil disobedience. More than 200 activists were arrested—including a 90-year-old grandmother. The arrests stopped only when the police ran out of zip cuffs.

Continue reading at:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/the-heat-is-on-chevron

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