An overflow crowd of 115 turned out last week to rally around an emerging goal for the Bay Area climate movement: to block our five East Bay refineries from processing the dirtiest crude oils, such as tar sands. The event, organized by the Ecology Center along with 350 Bay Area, the Sunflower Alliance, Idle No More, CBE, and NRDC, drew together frontline communities who would be impacted by refinery expansion. Each of the cities of Richmond, Benicia, Crockett and Pittsburg are already experiencing health and safety hazards from the presence of refineries in their communities, and residents anticipate these to increase with refinery expansion. Regardless of where we live in the Bay Area, none of us can afford the additional greenhouse gas emissions that would result from these projects moving forward. Read more on the background of the proposed expansion in this article from the East Bay Express.
The push to process lower grades of crude is sweeping the entire oil industry. At the event, we heard directly from those who have successfully won victories to slow these projects. We also heard the need to work and stand together, to address this issue at the county and regional level. Take a look at these videos below from the event of Greg Karras, Diane Bailey, Marilyn Bardet, Nancy Reiser and Lyana Monterrey. The presence of these refineries in our backyard is an unfortunate reality, but we can choose to engage in building healthier alternatives, and push to prevent the worst plans from going forward. To support these groups and join this movement, contact the 350 Bay Area No Tar Sands Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.