Monday evening’s explosion and fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond has many in the Bay Area concerned about the accident and the serious environmental and health impact on residents–many of color and living below the federal poverty line. The fire burned for several hours, leaving a thick cloud of smoke over Richmond and caused over 350 people to visit the hospital with skin and eye irritations, as well as, respiratory problems. Our grant partner, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, acted immediately, spreading the news via online social networks and circulated a petition to demand that Chevron be accountable for the mishap. The Ella Baker Center reveals:
- More than 25,000 people live within three miles of the refinery including the residents of two public housing developments.
- More than a quarter of the residents live below the federal poverty line, and more than 85% of the residents are listed as “minorities” by the U.S. census.
- Already, residents in Richmond and Contra Costa County have higher rates of asthma, cancer and respiratory diseases than surrounding areas.
- Chevron is the single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions in California.
- So far this year, Chevron has reported more than $13.7 Billion in profits.
The Ella Baker Center and others including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Communities for a Better Environment are demanding Chevron take responsibility for the accident by financially compensating those Richmond residents whose health has been affected.
Photo: Drew Dellinger