Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project nearing City Council vote

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The Richmond City Council is scheduled to vote on the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project following its meeting Tuesday night.

The Richmond City Council is scheduled to vote on the Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization Project following its meeting Tuesday night.

The long-delayed $1 billion modernization project would replace a 1960s hydrogen plant with a modern version that is 20 percent more energy efficient and inherently safer. The project would also enhance the refinery’s sulfur recovery units, allowing crude with higher sulfur content to be used.

About 1,000 construction jobs and 1,300 indirect jobs are expected as a result.

At Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Richmond Auditorium at 403 Civic Center Plaza, council must decide between a project that has been thoroughly vetted and approved by city staff, expert independent consultants and state officials, including Attorney General Kamala Harris, or to instead choose recommendations from the Richmond Planning Commission, which is heavily influenced by members of an environmental activist group.

The plan backed by Harris is environmentally superior to the company’s previous proposal, capping the refinery’s greenhouse gas emissions and reducing levels of sulfur processing, according to city consultants. As part of the proposal, Chevron has pledged $60 million in community investments over the next 10 years.

The proposal forwarded by the Planning Commission includes multiple technical conditions that city consultants deemed “factually unsupported by evidence on record” and legally impermissible based on court precedent.

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