Community View: Refinery modernization’s EIR ‘a heck of a read’

Community View: Illegal dumping along section of Richmond Greenway 'out of control'

Below is an email written by Richmond resident Don Gosney to Lina Velasco, senior planner for the city, regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Chevron Richmond refinery’s modernization project. The email was written on Monday, the day before the city council meeting where an attempt to extend the comment period for the DEIR failed to garner enough council votes.


I see where there’s an agenda item on tomorrow night’s City Council agenda to discuss extending the comment period for Chevron’s Modernization DEIR.

As you will recall, the day this report was made public I made a formal request for an extension to give us enough time to review and comment on the DEIR.  My request was, of course, promptly denied.

Since that time, though, I’ve had a chance to review the document, participate in some of the public educational sessions and speak with others about this and I no longer see the need for an extension.

Please disregard my previous request for an extension.

As it turns out, this is one heck of a read—I had trouble putting it down.  It was a real page turner.  It was exciting all the way to the end.  And even though there were 4,440 pages, a lot were photos and diagrams which took much less time to read.

This is an extremely well written DEIR and it spells out very clearly what the plans are, how it will be done and the affect on this community.  Even when I’ve heard public comments, I see these as easily answered in the FEIR.

The refining of oil is a complicated and technical process and most people would have a difficult time understanding the processes.  We saw that at last Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting when Commissioners questioned what type of pipe to use admittedly without knowing anything about pipe materials or refining processes.  I fear that some people think of the DEIR as a primer for how to refine petroleum.  No matter how long you extend the comment period, these people would never be able to understand what’s in it.  You have to know something about the business, Lina, and regular people often don’t have the training and the skills.

Too many people get their information from outside sources rather than the DEIR so an extension would be of little value to them.

After listening to the 63 public speakers at last Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, we heard a great many speakers who had never even glanced at this DEIR and didn’t need to.  Their minds have been made up that there’s nothing that Chevron can do that would be acceptable to them.  Any extension on their behalf would be a waste.

As you prepare your report for the Council I hope you will remove from consideration my earlier request. I will rise to speak against an extension so this project can move forward in a timely fashion.

Don Gosney, of Richmond