A spokesperson for Attorney General Kamala Harris released a statement Tuesday afternoon clarifying Harris’ position on the environmental review process for the Chevron Richmond refinery modernization project.
“Our office met with Chevron and city officials to address many of these concerns,” spokesperson David Beltran said. “We are currently reviewing the revised EIR and expect that many of these concerns will have been addressed.”
The statement was a response to our report earlier today about the city’s concern over a letter Harris sent to Richmond’s planning department on Friday. In the letter, which was widely publicized Monday, Harris was critical of parts of the draft version of the EIR.
The letter blindsided the city, which had reportedly been working with Harris’ office for a long time on resolving the attorney general’s concerns. Both the city and Chevron believed Harris’ concerns were either already addressed in the draft EIR or would be addressed in the final EIR.
The final EIR was released Monday.
“The letter went out before [Harris’ office] saw the final EIR,” said Councilman Tom Butt.
Butt, a critic of Chevron, first reported in his e-forum Tuesday morning that the city felt blindsided.
“Our consulting team said they thought a lot of those issues had been addressed,” Butt said Tuesday afternoon. “I guess if that’s true, then the disruption to the process is minimal. I read the letter and looked at the final EIR and my personal opinion is there are still some significant issues hanging out there.”
Following our report this morning, Beltran called the Richmond Standard to say that Harris’ letter had been taken out of context. He then issued the above statement.