Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Chevron Gets $2 Million Slap On Wrist for Refinery Fire

Energy

Mint Press News

The multinational Chevron Corp. has been fined $2 million after accepting a plea bargain following an August 2012 fire at a Richmond, CA, refinery that sent 15,000 people to the hospital with complaints of breathing problems.

In this Aug. 6, 2012 photo, smoke pours from a fire at the Chevron Richmond Refinery, seen behind Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. Investigators found “willful violations” in Chevron Corp.’s response before, during and after the Aug. 6 fire in Richmond caused by an old, leaky pipe in one of the facility’s crude units. Photo credit: AP/Eric Risberg

Chevron attorneys pleaded not guilty to six charges, accepting the terms, which includes 3 1/2 years of probation, $1.28 million in fines and more than $720,000 in restitution payments to three different agencies, according to reports by The Reporter.

“This criminal case achieves our goals of holding Chevron accountable for their conduct, protecting the public and ensuring a safer work environment at the refinery,” said Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson in a news release.

Peterson praised Chevron for the company’s “commitment to do more than what is required by law to prevent future accidents.”

The fine and settlement come on the heels of a protest earlier this week on the anniversary of the fire. Roughly 1,000 people gathered August 6, to commemorate the incident and demand accountability.

Those gathered chanted, “Arrest Chevron,” in front of the refinery gates before police in riot gear moved in, arresting 208 protesters.

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin echoed the condemnation of protests, saying, “The community of Richmond does not deserve and will not stand for these kinds of toxic releases that impact our health and safety and also impact the sustainability of our planet,” reported Democracy Now.

Also in attendance was prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, which helped organize the protest.

“Everybody thought at first that if you have a problem this big that scientists said is a problem, then our system would act,” McKibben said. “That was my assumption. But at a certain point it became clear that wasn’t happening. The science was no match for the money. They’ve purchased the U.S. Congress.”

This fine is a slap on the wrist for Chevron, a multinational oil corporation with $241 billion in revenue last year. Like most oil companies, Chevron has a dubious safety record and has been responsible for several serious accidents in recent years.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that an explosion at a Chevron refinery in Wales killed four workers and seriously injured one other during a June 2011 accident.

More recently, a January 2012 blowout and fire at a Chevron offshore natural-gas platform killed two men near Nigeria. The fire continued burning for 46 days, stopping only after the flow of natural gas dried up.

The Nigerian government announced that it will seek a $3 billion fine from Chevron as a result of the disaster, but there have been no reports of a settlement since the August 2012 announcement.

This claim pales in comparison to an unresolved $19 billion lawsuit filed by members of Ecuador’s indigenous Amazonian community after years of pollution in areas around Chevron drilling sites.

Years after the 2011 legal victory in an Ecuadorian court, Chevron has not paid the fine, nor has it offered compensation to the victims. Local residents claim that cancer rates have increased as a result of contaminated drinking water.

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Deserted view of NH24 near Akshardham Temple on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on April 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India is home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, but recently air pollution levels have started to drop dramatically as the second-most populated nation endures the second week of a 21-day lockdown amidst coronavirus fears, according to The Weather Channel.

Read More Show Less
A Unicef social mobilizer uses a speaker as she carries out public health awareness to prevent the spread and detect the symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus by UNICEF at Mangateen IDP camp in Juba, South Sudan on April 2. ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP / Getty Images

By Eddie Ndopu

  • South Africa is ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
  • Its townships are typical of high-density neighbourhoods across the continent where self-isolation will be extremely challenging.
  • The failure to eradicate extreme poverty is a threat beyond the countries in question.
Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md. on Nov. 9, 2015. Al Drago / CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two malarial drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, despite only anecdotal evidence that either is proven effective in treating or slowing the progression of the disease in seriously ill patients.

Read More Show Less
Some speculate that the dissemination of the Antarctic beeches or Nothofagus moorei (seen above in Australia) dates to the time when Antarctica, Australia and South America were connected. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

A team of scientists drilled into the ground near the South Pole to discover forest and fossils from the Cretaceous nearly 90 million years ago, which is the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
The recovery of elephant seals is one of the "signs of hope" that scientists say show the oceans can recover swiftly if we let them. NOAA / CC BY 2.0

The challenges facing the world's oceans are well known: plastic pollution could crowd out fish by 2050, and the climate crisis could wipe out coral reefs by 2100.

Read More Show Less