A $5 million legal settlement reached between the City of Richmond and Chevron over the Richmond Refinery’s crude-unit fire in 2012 will fund improvements to Richmond community centers and enhance and improve public-safety programs and apparatuses in the city.
The settlement was reached and approved by the Richmond City Council on May 1. The $5 million settlement will be used to support the Richmond community in the areas of public safety, education, parks and recreation and community and economic development. It is not yet known exactly how the funds will be used, but a company spokesperson indicated the details are in the agreement and that a joint statement would be issued.
Since the fire, Chevron has worked to address the underlying issues identified in the investigation report, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s findings, and the issues raised by CAL-OSHA, including completing 100-percent component inspection of carbon steel piping systems as potentially susceptible to sulfidation corrosion.
The $5 million adds to the more than $33 million that Chevron has contributed to dozens of community organizations since 2012 as part of their social investment program which aims to spur economic growth and improve the quality of life for individuals in Richmond and West County. In addition, Richmond is benefiting from a $90 million community benefits agreement connected to the $1 billion Refinery Modernization Project, which is making the Refinery newer, cleaner and safer. The Modernization Project is in the final stages of construction, and these funds over the next several years will help fund the Richmond Promise scholarships, grants for nonprofits, and funding to support climate change initiatives.
Aside from monetary contributions, over 500 of the company’s employees and contractors supported nearly 60 nonprofit organizations across Richmond and West Contra Costa County last year by volunteering nearly 10,000 hours in local soup kitchens, local parks and schools.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement with the City that provides more benefits to the community and that allows both parties to focus on a brighter future,” said Kory Judd, the Refinery’s General Manager. “Lawsuits and settlements do not spur actions to prevent incidents. We have been working on improvements for years. Since the fire, we have investigated ways to improve and have cooperated with all investigators and agencies that regulate our operations. We are proud of the progress we have made.”