Abby Young:

… this surrounding making this transition and particularly what that means for frontline communities. So, welcome. I’ll say a little bit about myself, and then I will introduce both of our speakers, and we’ll speak. And then we’ll have a little bit of discussion amongst ourselves and open it up for questions. So please turn your brains on and work out some good questions. We want to have a robust discussion. So my name is Abby Young. I’m the climate protection manager at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. And that is the public agency that’s responsible for clean air in the nine county Bay Area region. We’re operating out of San Francisco. The Bay Area has in excess of seven million people, nine million cars, and we’re a 400-person agency, so it’s a challenge. And in addition to traditional, we’ve been around for about 65, 70 years. And in addition to traditional air polluters over the past 15 years, we’ve been looking more and more at climate change.

Abby Young:

And what do we do about greenhouse gas emissions? When we talk about fossil fuels in particularly the oil refinery, you cannot separate greenhouse gas emissions from local air pollutants and local toxic air contaminants that are also products of oil refinery and fossil fuel production that affect communities around this facilities. So this is a very big issue for the Air District. So I’d been to Air District for about 15 years. And prior to that, I spent 11 years at an organization called ICLEI. I think you have heard ICLEI. It stands for the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. And I was there for about 11 years. So I’ve spent about 25, 26 years focused work on working with communities to develop and implement global climate action plans. That’s a really long time. And that longitudinal perspective gives me kind of conflicting epiphanies. One is I cannot believe it took us so long to get where we are today. And the other is I can’t believe we’ve come so far compared to where we were. So I kind of vacillate between those two kind of thoughts, but they both coexist in the same space.

Abby Young:

And a few years ago at the Air District, well, I’ll say today, when we think about this target of having to achieve carbon neutrality, carbon neutrality by 2045 at the latest, the traditional ways, we’ve sort of thought about how we get to the target, that mathematical exercise. Well, here is where we are today. This is where we need to be. These are all the things we need to do, and let’s figure out each one of these things reduces emissions by a certain amount, and it’s all math, and this is what we’re going to do to get there. We kind of have to throw that out the window with a target like carbon neutrality. And instead, I think it is more of a visioning exercise. What does the state of health going to look like or better yet, what do our communities look like in 2025 once we’ve achieved carbon neutrality? What does our community look like once we’ve gotten to the goal post? And then we can think, “Okay.” So what does that mean we had to do today in more to get there?

Abby Young:

And about five years ago, the Air District developed the development and periodically update a regional clean air plan for the Bay Area in 2017. It also included a big, this focus on greenhouse gases really. And we did the same kind of visioning exercise. We got all by 2050, where would we be if we ever reduced greenhouse gas emissions to 80% by… At that time, that was the goal. And we thought about different things about how we traveled and the buildings we lived in. And one of the things we envisioned, because this was kind of crazy visioning, was that oil refineries in the Bay Area, we have five of them would have to transition to producing a clean, renewable fuels, but we thought that was pie the sky. And that was five years ago.

Abby Young:

And here we are today, five years later, two of those five refineries are narrow process of transitioning to renewable in that, but renewable fuels. So that’s a long way of getting to our panel today. So what we want talk about is what does that transition look like? What should it look like? What could it look like? What do we make sure it doesn’t look like? And our first… So I want to do a little bit of introduction. I think I’ll introduce you right before into the speech. So our first speaker is Marisol Cantú. And Marisol is a proud Chicana and third-generation Richmond City, Richmond resident. She’s motivated by her love for her community and her family, both of which have been harmed by fossil fuel production, fossil fuel industry. Her motivations have led her to take leadership roles as an educator, activist, and community organizer, such as through the Richmond Listening Project. Marisol will lay the foundation of our panel by discussing [inaudible 00:06:05] from the fossil industry [inaudible 00:06:05] communities.

Marisol Cantú:

Thank you everybody. Thank you, Abby. [inaudible 00:06:20] everyone. [inaudible 00:06:28] all right.

Abby Young:

All about…

Marisol Cantú:

All right. So can I project my voice like this? Like they said they don’t hear me.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, yeah.

Marisol Cantú:

All right. It’s like not really, really good for a podium. I’m trying to decolonize the classroom here. And so this is my alma mater, so I’m very glad to be back here presenting on something very different than I study but yet live through as third-generation frontline community member. And so I’m first going to just tell you who I am and why I’m coming to this work. And I come because I and my siblings have been harmed, my parents, my grandparents and my nephew who just turned one years old is a fourth-generation living in a frontline community.

Marisol Cantú:

And the first question my brother asked was, when will he get asthma? If he will get asthma, it is when will he start developing symptoms? Because as I was a young child, I saw at seven years old, my brother, who’s this is his son, [Johnny 00:07:40] on breathing treatments. And he spent his first year of life in and out of the hospital on breathing treatments. And his first birthday was not happy and outside. It was in the hospital. And so we were allowed to see him by touching his little hand in a breathing treatment center. And the most difficult thing is this isn’t an anomaly. This is normal. And it has become normalized in our community to ask these types of questions, not if, but when. And so I come to this work here. I am an organizer for the Richmond Progressive Alliance, the Listening Project. Our team, some of our team is here, so I’m really proud to have them with us today. I’m stepping into a new role in Richmond as the new organizing and training director for the Safe Return Project, so I’m very excited.

Marisol Cantú:

And my youth are just going to [inaudible 00:08:46] a little bit. And so what is the Richmond Progressive Alliance? So it’s really a political and social movement to take power from corporations like Chevron, the second largest polluter in all of California in a city of 110,000 people and put it back into the hands of people, the true people’s movement. And this movement was born out of environmental justice leaders in Richmond, just like in Oakland, in the Bay Area, in Berkeley. There have been the impetus of all of this so many environmental justice movements, and yet we’re still here. We’re still fighting. And so the RPA, I’ll refer to them as RPA, undertook a community-driven process. Frontline community members driving a just transition and organizing towards a just transition in Richmond. And what we did will be focused on the most harmed by Chevron in our city. And how we decided on the most harmed was we looked at the three districts that are most surrounding Chevron refinery.

Marisol Cantú:

And we looked at the [inaudible 00:10:13] screen to see the breadth. And we focused on the air pollution in these in our community. And so this project truly is for us and by us. These are some of our organizers. We have beautiful [inaudible 00:10:31] represented. We have our team Richmond Land is there. Danny who’s now Sierra Club and left us is still home in part of who we are. So we’re breeding the next generation right here in Richmond. And so what was our process? Listen, what does it mean to listen? A lot of politicians, a lot of people listen to respond, but do you listen to understand? Do you listen to rephrase, to summarize, and not just immediately react? And that’s what we wanted to do because we wanted to really understand. And what I think the other panel has talked about was there is such a [inaudible 00:11:15] because Chevron is so embedded in our community or Chevron or the corporation.

Marisol Cantú:

And so we cannot negate our community members that simply don’t know or aware of what’s truly going on and the harms of Chevron. So it wasn’t to dismiss which a lot of EJ movements do, and they move on. But we’re saying, “How do we bring everybody with us?” And so we listened, and we use this framework to then educate our community, and we’ll talk about that, to engage, which is where we’re at right now to hopefully activate towards a just transition, towards a fossil free campaign [crosstalk 00:11:58] in Richmond.

Speaker 9:

I’m just doing to lower res.

Marisol Cantú:

And so we’re going to go ahead and begin with our community. So how did you listen? What did we first do? We surveyed our community. We surveyed 378 Richmond residents, took a survey about the climate crisis. 50 Spanish speaking, 341 English speakers. We also translated it into Arabic, which we have huge Vietnamese population and Laotian population. So we translated it into three other languages to then be able in that survey… I’ll go over some of the highlights of that survey with you to then ask community members if they would like to share their story through an individual in a one-on-one, our youth on Zoom out of the community, listening, asking over the phone, meeting our community wherever they’re at. At farm stands, at events outside, wherever we were, we were asking people to fill up this survey.

Marisol Cantú:

And then we had 35 residents sign up for a survey. We compensated them for their time. And then I asked the youth, “We have all of this. What do you want to do?” And they said, “Let’s have a podcast.” I was like probably the only millennial that actually doesn’t care about podcasts, nor would I figure out actually how to create one. So it was an undertaking that you said, “We’re going to do it.”

Marisol Cantú:

And we had another Richard resident, Tony, incredible videographer who said, “I don’t really know about podcast either, but I have a skill set, and I’ll figure it out.” And this is what we did. We had our first season. It ended just a couple of weeks ago. There were 10 episodes. We listened. We had a thematic analysis. And then we decided which of these topics, what themes were constantly coming up. And the difference with our podcast, and you’re going to hear, is that we embedded the community’s voices into the podcast, and they responded in real time, all of it over Zoom, not even in person, but just recording it on Zoom. And what I really want to highlight is that this will be a world history and a cultural preservation for our city for forever, so that we will always know what happened during this time as we move towards the just transition.

Marisol Cantú:

So let’s look at some of the survey results, because these are real folks. These aren’t climate environmental justice advocates that are here. They’re not policy makers. These are actually our community residents. And we started asking some really general questions. How much does the climate crisis affect people in Richmond? 71% said, “A lot.” They understood that this is something that is affecting people. So then we started asking, “Let’s talk about Chevron. Let’s really focus on fossil fuel industry here.” And what we asked, we had made a statement that said the Chevron Refinery is beneficial to the Richmond community, and only 24 out of 341 people said that they strongly agree, 24 of 341 people. That is a really low percentage of what our community is understanding. Something has to change. And yet almost 40% say that they strongly disagree. And so we continued asking questions about public health issues.

Marisol Cantú:

We asked a direct question, “Do you or a family member?” We didn’t want simply, “Did you know of somebody?” Because again, it’s so normalized in our community that somebody knows of somebody that has asthma. We wanted an actual blood connection. “Do you or somebody else have chronic respiratory health condition?” And unfortunately, 47% said yes, with our Spanish speakers that is now 51% saying yes. And this is the reality that we are living with every single day. And I think I love that the other panel talked about this as well because our community also understood during the global pandemic that we were more susceptible to COVID. We didn’t need a doctor to tell us. And I love Danny brought in one time listening to communities members said, “We knew how to quarantine because of Chevron refinery before COVID ever existed.” We have N95 masks. This is what we lived and breathed. And it was normal for us to move on. It was normal for us to shelter in place.”

Marisol Cantú:

And I want to move on to another topic because there’s this huge conversation about workers and community in a just transition. And again, mind you, we’re not using the type of word “just transition” whatsoever. We are [inaudible 00:17:34] our language. So we, the community where they’re at. And this is what we are doing. We don’t need to shut down academic frameworks for our community to understand their lived experience. And they talked about workers. We asked, “Do you just know somebody that works at the Chevron refinery?” And it is so, so staggering that 81% said they don’t. Why? Because Chevron is not hiring Richmond residents. They are hiring people outside of the community to commute into our community. So then go back to their homes and be at the safety of their homes while we are dealing with the harms and repercussions. And yet, what was interesting when we asked more of a qualitative question of what are your fears, when, and if Chevron would leave. Again, never using just transition.

Marisol Cantú:

What would happen if Chevron were to leave? One of the number one concerns was loss of employment. Why are you worried about loss of employment when you don’t know one single person that works at the refinery? Who are you worried about? I think this was the issue that came up over and over again is that we understand that there are 1500 employees at the refinery here in Richmond, and yet about 5% are actually Richmond residents, paying Richmond [inaudible 00:19:10] living in our city. And so we knew that this is something that we have to dispel. We have to dispel this myth. Everybody is so fearful of the loss of jobs, but no one actually knows somebody working there. And this is something that we saw over and over again in our survey. We wanted to make the connection of course, of Chevron in particular with the climate crisis. And now we’ve even learned it is not a crisis in Richmond, it is climate chaos, and that is what’s happening. And so almost 70% of our community, our respondents understood that the Chevron refinery does play a large role in the climate crisis.

Marisol Cantú:

And then we just asked this question. Again, no just transition here. Chevron leaving Richmond would benefit the community? Positive. 42% strongly agreed. Another 20% agreed. They want a just transition. They know our world has to change. We are ready. And yet, we’re still grappling with issues of a 100-year refinery in our backyard with flaring events as recent as Friday with a huge, huge flare that we had to mobilize and call [Back-Met 00:20:44] to get inspectors to come and see it. And this is what… And this is a relationship that we need to build with workers.

Marisol Cantú:

Because if you haven’t been following national move, our Chevron refinery workers, United Steelworkers Local 5, 500 of them are on strike, and we are on the line with them. We are organizing with them. We are providing food with them. We are building relationships with them every day. We are bringing projectors at night, putting them on there. Anything that we can do to be out there with a lot of other organizations, including our power coalition and APEN and CBE, we are out there, trying to make sure the first step towards a just transition is to build relationships, build trust with workers and community, so no one is actually left behind.

Marisol Cantú:

And so what does the song mean for frontline communities? We need to be listened to. We want to be listened to. Our stories matter, and we have, have to center them in our fight towards a just transition. And what you are going to hear. These are the lists of our podcasts. You should follow us, like, subscribe, comment on our YouTube channel. And it’s on Spotify and all major streaming networks. Now we have created the Listening Project podcast teaser that we unveiled to our community. When I start playing some community voices and clips, we engage community members, not just through the survey and then through an interview.

Marisol Cantú:

And then through the intergenerational Listening Project and a youth Listening Project. But then, when we actually draft the podcast, we sent it to our community members and said, “This is collective ownership. Do you feel that your voice was accurately and authentically portrayed because you owned this podcast?” And they responded, and they’ve listened. Our first episode, insanely, was an hour, and they said, “This is depressing. We don’t want to listen to this.” And we said, “Shit, okay. We’re going to split that in half.” But that’s us responding to our community’s needs because we understand because we are our community. And so we’re going to play this. I think the audio is all set. And this is video.

Video:

This, you can see, and some flaring at the Chevron refinery in Richmond spotted across the Bay Area, submitting it from one of our cameras…

Video:

And that breaking news is in Richmond where this flaring at the Chevron refinery is under…

Video:

And Richmond wants to take a more proactive approach to look into what’s causing all that flaring.

Video:

This is [crosstalk 00:23:36] what I looked like [crosstalk 00:23:36].

Video:

We’re looking at the oil that spilled into the San Francisco Bay and San Pablo.

Video:

So people in Solano County may have felt the impact of the smoke and against the…

Video:

Smelled like somebody spilled gasoline in front of my house.

Video:

Non-confirmed reports that it has reached the shoreline.

Video:

Chevron Richmond refinery experienced a flaring activities, and look at that refinery experienced flaring activities, flaring activities, flaring activities…

Video:

Welcome to the listening project podcast, sharing stories [inaudible 00:24:03] by voices.

Video:

When most people hear climate crisis, they think of extreme droughts, polar bears on the vert of extinction and rapidly melting ice caps. But what about the people, the communities, the families most harmed by some of the biggest polluters right in our backyard? Right here in our small Richmond City, we live through the climate crisis every day. We don’t need to go anywhere. We see, feel, smell, and breathe the climate crisis caused by the Chevron refinery, the second largest polluter in California. We are here. The climate crisis is here. It is us who are fighting every day for our health, for our air, for our water, and for our futures. That is why it we’re here.

Video:

This mini podcast series is a collection of stories told by those who are most impacted and harmed by Chevron stronghold on our city, our community, and our environment. This podcast will take you on a journey through the lives of real Richmond folks, covering topics like education, community health, and the local economy, and will highlight or guests such as youth leaders and community advocates. This podcast is sponsored by the Richmond Progressive Alliance. For more information, visit the website below or follow our Instagram at Richmond Listening Project. My name Alfredo Angulo. I’ll see you soon. Thank you for listening.

Marisol Cantú:

That was a teaser. If you think the teaser’s… That’s a teaser. That was just a teaser, right? So we are going to listen. These are about one minute clips of some highlights from the community members. And so we’re first going to start with [inaudible 00:25:46]. This was my high school sweetheart when I was in freshman, and he’s grown so much. And just listen to this incredible testimony from him.

Video:

My grandma still lives in Richmond. A lot of my friends and family. My mom still lives in Richmond. So it just, like I say, man, like I feel like my family have a choice. They walk outside. They paid all their tax money, their tax dollars. They work every day. They work hard just to get ahead in life. But all to be trumped by this multimillion dollar company that’s not really for us. It’s no just us. It’s just us. There’s no justice, it’s just us. And so that’s kind of what like I’ve been like my mindset about how Chevron and just even the justice system and all this other stuff that we are faced with. It’s like, “Look, man, y’all are not helping. Y’all hindering us, and we need y’all help more than what y’all doing.”

Video:

And y’all looking at the way these… Like you want to look at it to help us, and it’s not helpless because our kids are still facing all these different problems, all these different birth defects and just growing up with all these different ailments. It’s the stuff that we need to… If we got out of Richmond and removed Chevron out of Richmond, I think it would help us a lot more. We would lose money, but I think in the long run, our health is more important than the money.

Marisol Cantú:

And then we’re going to listen to a doctor, Amanda Millstein, kind of then show…

Video:

The kind of most recent data that I’ve seen, which is now outdated, but is now a few years old, basically showing that as with Richmond as a whole suffers from rates of asthma that are twice the national average, which is very accurate in terms of just anecdotally my experience. I previously, prior to practicing in Richmond had been in San Francisco and then San Leandro and certainly appreciate the higher rates of asthma in Richmond.

Video:

One of the things that was most striking to me when I first started practicing in Richmond was the sort of expectation from families that their children would develop asthma and the sort of inevitability of it, the sort of sense of like, “Did we know this is going to happen?” The question is when. And I remember the first few times this happened, I was just very confused, and I really kind of didn’t quite understand what was going on. But I remember going or go ahead, going to meet a newborn baby in their family maybe just a few days old. And one of the first questions the family had for me was, “Does my child already have… Does our baby have asthma?”

Video:

The first few times I got asked that, I really tried to explain like from a very scientific… This is what asthma is like, and it is something that will take several episodes of wheezing and to get a diagnosis of asthma and trying to sort of say, “No, you shouldn’t be worried about this yet or maybe it’s only three days old.” And the more I got to know the community and understand the kind of context in which all of this was unfolding, I pretty quickly came to understand how reasonable of a question that is and that for the majority or for many, many of families and their kids, their question is the right one, which is whether when will my kid develop asthma.

Marisol Cantú:

That’s the reality that we’re living with. And a lot of times, they don’t know [inaudible 00:30:07] and continue. You should really listen to the podcast. It’s extremely, extremely powerful. We finished the podcast. We created curriculum based on the podcast to then engage high schoolers and the local college side of [inaudible 00:30:26]. And we have reached over 650 listeners who presented at [inaudible 00:30:33] series of [inaudible 00:30:35]. We’ve been to [inaudible 00:30:37] and they’re around that lunch series, but it’s falling. They’re falling on deaf ears. We’re not really, really [inaudible 00:30:45], and I think that’s because our community has to say it together. Everybody has to say, “We want a fossil-free Richmond. And so our impact, we are always doing direct action. We also on the front lines. We are truly building the coalition to then take on Chevron right now with our workers. We are doing kayaktivism. We are on the bay as you saw.

Marisol Cantú:

And yet there are so many barriers to get into our own local Richmond arena. And so, just yesterday, we had 10 people go onto the water for the first time. Most of them had never been on the water, and this is one, about access, but it’s secondly about direct action so that we can get on the water when there is another oil spill and actually show up in droves and take the land and the [inaudible 00:31:52]. And this is where we’re at. We’re continuing. We’re on Radio KPFA this Friday. You can listen to one of our episodes.

Marisol Cantú:

And then the following Friday, we’re working with the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley to create a cumulative report. It’s going to be a series. I did not just want a white paper that is not going to help our community understand what is going on. We’re breaking it it into small pieces. The voices that you’ve heard will be on QR codes with sketches, so you can see their faces in this report, and you can hear their quotes that are on paper directly in your ears because that’s how we need to move our community forward. And so this was something that’s actually happening today. Again, something that I’m organizing for, just randomly with, is that an AMBER alert? It’s not.

Marisol Cantú:

These are the type of actions because a few of us are on AB 617 steering committee for Richmond. We just got word that at 3:30, we are going to be calling in to ask for a higher fine from $10,000 per flaring episode to $30,000 episodes. It is not enough. This is not the way to go, but we need to make Chevron so uncomfortable that they finally leave Richmond, but then do it in a way that is just and equitable.

Marisol Cantú:

And so we have our own website. Of course, you can email us. You can follow us on all of our socials. And then our YouTube channel or Spotify channel is the Richmond Progressive Alliance. My name is Marisol Cantu. Thank you so much for listening to our community stories. And I think Abby’s going to take it over.

Abby Young:

Wonderful. Thank you so much for that, Marisol. And I forgot to mention that…

Speaker 10:

I thought you said there were five different refineries.

Abby Young:

Yes.

Speaker 10:

And so where are they? Did you say where they are in the Bay Area [crosstalk 00:34:17]?

Abby Young:

So they’re all along the kind of Richmond [inaudible 00:34:23] straight corridor. So Richmond, Martinez, Benicia, Rodeo, all through that corridor. Thank you so much, Marisol. And I forgot to mention that Christine Cordero was not able to be here today, but I think we’re going to have a very robust panel even in her absence. So next up is Connie Cho, who is an attorney with Communities for a Better Environment, also in Richmond. Her passion for climate, environment, health, and worker justice stems from growing up as the daughter of Korean immigrants in Mid-Missouri on Medicaid. So prior to becoming an attorney, she worked for health and human services in New York City, as well as in nonprofit services and community organizing in order to transform healthcare and social services systems to better serve low income communities of color. Connie is going to zoom out and give us a big picture overview of where the fossil fuel refining sector is and is heading. Connie. Sure. We can turn up the lights, I think. Yep.

Connie Cho:

In the spirit of decolonizing space.

Abby Young:

Right.

Connie Cho:

I would love for us to just have… Folks, can you hear me? I would love for us to just have a conversation, especially because, Marisol, I don’t think I’ve been able to sit down with you and sit down with Evan or Kevin though to talk about this, right? So I want to zoom out and give a little bit of a policy picture now that you really are invested in the Richmond community. You’ll have to hang on the [inaudible 00:36:21] that follows, right? What can we do about it? So I’m an attorney at CBE. We work with community members, organizers who come from community and researchers. A lot of what I’m going to share is really work that we’ve done in collaboration between the organizers and the researchers. Especially I want shout out to Julia May, senior scientist in Wilmington and our Richmond organizer, Andres Soto. Our former Richmond organizer Andres Soto. So really drawing on their expertise and trying to just uplift community voices and interests in different regulatory spaces.

Connie Cho:

Have you seen the impact of the refinery on community members? And that’s because refineries and not just carbon as one of the largest, actually the largest industrial stationary source emitter of CO2 but also sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, that SOx and NOx, that’s where the asthma comes from. Also, VOCs, volatile organic compounds and PM2.5. There’s no safe level of PM2.5 particular matter. There are disproportion of rates of chronic disease and so forth. And we don’t need… Community members don’t really need anymore reports to confirm this, but it’s something that is useful in the state advocacy. The EHO officer environmental health hazard.

Speaker 12:

Yep. [inaudible 00:38:02].

Connie Cho:

[inaudible 00:38:03].

Speaker 4:

[inaudible 00:38:05].

Connie Cho:

On the years of CARB operating [inaudible 00:38:07] came out and it documents how [inaudible 00:38:11] vary. It documents how [inaudible 00:38:14] and PM2.5 have gone up in refinery communities and on hydrogen units which are a big part of refinery operations. So what is the state doing with that information? It’s going to be a big question coming up. Right now, we are living in a world where the fossil fuel industry corporation business plans are guiding, are running the transition.

Connie Cho:

And they’re the same companies who got us into this mess. And on a local level, that looks like what are being called biofuel conversions. So conversions of these large refineries, two in particular have proposals that come out on the Phillip 66 Refinery in Rodeo and the Marathon Refinery in Martinez. And so the important thing to know is that biofuels are often called renewable fuels. And bio sounds great. It sounds natural. And indeed, it involves something very natural, food. Biofuels are complex. There are many different classes of biofuels. And the biofuels are specifically at these refineries are first generational, often called conventional biofuels. This is the first time they thought, “Oh, what if they turn corn into fuel.” Right? And it’s uses first-generation [inaudible 00:39:53] technology. But the name is an important one. So important that that’s just first generation. And that this is the type of conversion that crude petroleum refining infrastructure, these refineries is the type of biofuel that these refineries can be [inaudible 00:40:11].

Speaker 4:

Yep.

Connie Cho:

So in essence, this is a transition for industry to squeeze the last bit of profit that it can out of the refinery. It is not in order to achieve the highest climate benefit. And in fact, what we know about these biofuels are that the first generation sort of feedstock are food system products. So in particular, soy. We probably may have heard about palm oil again. But what’s been documented over the last decade and what Europe is actually moving towards adopting now is a type of assessment where you look at the risk levels of indirect [inaudible 00:40:56] changes and the greenhouse gas emission are coming from that. And because of the interplay between soy and palm in the market and because of the many other uses of soy and palm and the way that they can replace each other, soy is just as bad as palm essentially.

Connie Cho:

There are more greenhouse gases being released in the production of soy-based biofuels then is being sequestered or lowered. So in addition to biofuels, well, what I’ll say is biofuel is also… These biofuels also require a large amount of hydrogen. And the reason why community members are willing to care about that or really would care about that is because it’s the hydrogen units that they’re instability and the pressure that’s created on the inside. It keeps us generated that from which the flaring events come from. Flaring is just releasing that excess energy and pressure in order to… I hope that was correct. All the business, both outside somewhere. But flaring is a safety measure to keep the refinery from exploding completely. And it’s absolutely tied to the regulation of hydrogen.

Connie Cho:

There’re also going to proposals from Chevron to the shareholders about creating a hydrogen [inaudible 00:42:27]. And you may have heard about the hydrogen color, spectrum. This is gray hydrogen. This is business-as-usual hydrogen. It’s steam-methane reforming. There’s nothing fancy about it. We can also talk about blue hydrogen, which is just adding carbon capture. And I’d love to dig into that in a little bit. But what I also want to say about the transition that’s happening is that the transition also looks like Marathon workers completely losing their jobs without any notice at [inaudible 00:43:03]. And the reason that is because there are state policies that are fueling, that are incentivizing industry to come up with these giant proposals, even though we were finding California refinery industries in absolutely decline financially. And California [inaudible 00:43:22].

Connie Cho:

And in response to all of this, we have recently gotten a mini [inaudible 00:43:29]… So I mentioned before [inaudible 00:43:31], we received an mini [inaudible 00:43:33] scoping plan, emissions scoping plan that by and large showed extremely regressive and honestly offensively outlandish set of assumptions in the climate modeling because of how much they used or used carbon capture sequestration assumptions. Even though there’s one project, there’s only one project that auto refinery… It’s not even a refinery. It’s an upgrader. Just kind of a refinery but just smaller. That has been shown to not use more greenhouse gases than it actually captures. And also just the physical infrastructure of the refinery. They’re having trouble putting pollution controls on the refineries because there’s not enough space, right? So it’s just out of sync with the literal physical reality of refineries [inaudible 00:44:34].

Connie Cho:

So there are proposals at the state level and some being developed at the local level about how to manage the decline of refineries given the fact that… I want to connect this with the larger climate picture. Transportation is the biggest [inaudible 00:44:58]. Transportation. And then you have industrial. And under that, refineries themselves are the largest proportion of that, are the largest emitters. And then there’s oil extraction. But essentially, if there’s a fossil fuel transportation chain where these are all interconnected sources. And so as we advance transportation policy and move towards zero-emission vehicles, there’s a decline in demand for refineries in California.

Connie Cho:

And the reality is that we have a whole process for moving out natural gases in power plants, right, at the PEC. But there’s nothing in place for… Nothing in place for this type of possibility. So on the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, so this will be then proposed having a regulatory process, asking CARB [inaudible 00:45:52] to a plan by 2024 to look at all of the different factors that will take to face down and manage the current decline of fossil fuels in California through refineries.

Connie Cho:

This will allow this kind of [inaudible 00:46:10]. [inaudible 00:46:10] will allow us to also for remediation concerns, which came up in the last panel on [inaudible 00:46:18]. These are century-old sites. And as you look at the Philadelphia systems refinery that [inaudible 00:46:25] for bankruptcy, those are multi-dollar cleanups that refineries are hook for. And so no wonder that they’re trying to convert to biofuels and then outrageous barrels per se number out there. Kicking the can down the road so that leads to bankruptcy which means the community or just leading the toxic [inaudible 00:46:47] for a lot of [inaudible 00:46:48] and then also leaving community with cleanup bill and also workers without pensions when [inaudible 00:46:54].

Connie Cho:

And right now, we also have no financial assurance mechanisms in place that come close to addressing their mediation costs, climate risks along the way, the fact that this is aging infrastructure. And I think there’s like a corporate [inaudible 00:47:13] or [inaudible 00:47:15].

Speaker 4:

Tagline.

Connie Cho:

Yeah. It’s just like a pinky promise. There’s like no actual legal mechanism. So essentially, what they’re… I don’t want to jump into the entirety of the carbon capture and sequestration debate, but all I’ll say is that there’s not enough evidence to even show that should be on the page to be [inaudible 00:47:44]. And also, that released [inaudible 00:47:47] report shows us that we absolutely know what we need to do the next 10 years. You don’t have to argue about carbon capture…

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Connie Cho:

… on refineries or whatever we need to face on fossil fuels. We need plan to do it. Otherwise, industry is going to go haywire, just [inaudible 00:48:03] preserve that. So we’re just asking our investment and our city councils to do what [inaudible 00:48:15] have always been [inaudible 00:48:15]. The plan has been the same for each [inaudible 00:48:15].

Abby Young:

Well, thank you very much. Do we until 3:40? Is that right? Okay. So I’m going to go straight to see if folks out here have some questions. Yes.

Speaker 4:

I appreciate very much the panel discussion. Richmond’s not the only city in California that has a lot of these kind of white elephant type problems with its infrastructure. Are these local or county problems, or these at this point is it’s a statewide problem?

Abby Young:

So I’m just going to repeat. The case folks could be here. So Richmond’s not the only… We focused on Richmond, but there are other locations around the state that have these big transitional issues and challenges. So is this more of a local problem, or is this a statewide problem?

Connie Cho:

So it’s statewide. The largest concentration of refineries on the West Coast is in Wilmington, the southeast LA area. And also I should not fail to mention that what came up earlier about just transition is paying for the tax base that we need to replace in the loss of essential service. I think the Chevron’s taxes take up something like a third of the city’s budget, and then that’s not even counting the county services that Richmond [inaudible 00:49:45]. This is a huge state where [inaudible 00:49:48]. Because even if you could draw down polluter like funds from Chevron, which would take some kind of valid initiative, even if you do have that federal dollars and state dollars, it would still be a huge gap to fill in Richmond, Wilmington, [inaudible 00:50:02], and [inaudible 00:50:02]. There are refineries [inaudible 00:50:33].

Speaker 13:

That even said that you could [inaudible 00:50:36] [inaudible 00:50:36] if you don’t make [inaudible 00:50:36]. So one, first I thought, considering like [inaudible 00:50:36] [inaudible 00:50:36] to that PR in the coastline. How do we make stakeholders accountable for their actions? I mean, I probably [inaudible 00:50:36] for like [inaudible 00:50:36] if there comes up any problem during like… [inaudible 00:50:39] [inaudible 00:50:40] [inaudible 00:50:41] [inaudible 00:50:42] [inaudible 00:50:43]. How do we, [inaudible 00:50:46], as a community member hold these stakeholders accountable for what they’re doing and what they’re doing to our communities. Yes.

Abby Young:

For the record I made clear the Air District was on the table for criticism. So whatever, it’s totally fine.

Connie Cho:

Yeah. I think it’s really important that you tell your stories. I think that it’s really important for [inaudible 00:51:16]. Like I can talk about NOx and SOx, but that’s not necessarily convincing to someone have to decision on the other side is issuing a lot of money. [inaudible 00:51:19].

Connie Cho:

I’m going to add to that really, really quickly just for Kevin who was 18 by the way, and [inaudible 00:51:42]. He’s still like just a youngster on Richmond growing up with asthma. And so I think the power of storytelling but also getting into the spaces, getting regular folks like me and you into these spaces and demand that people listen to us. Because when we went to Back-Met, we heard politicians from the nine different areas say, “Wow, we’ve never heard of frontline worker talk about her experience of watching people running in the 2012 fire through the corridors because there wasn’t enough receptacles for people to vomit in the hospital.” That was new to them. That was new. And so being in those spaces constantly really sharing the power of the story, of course. And then power of action and making sure… I’m going to push just for in elections to vote in progressive city council members, so we can actually make change.

Speaker 13:

[inaudible 00:52:52] again. I feel like though that that’s like right, right, [inaudible 00:52:56] understand. However, I like [inaudible 00:52:59] [inaudible 00:53:01]. I think [inaudible 00:53:04] [inaudible 00:53:06] [inaudible 00:53:08]. And you like continue it on and on [inaudible 00:53:12] [inaudible 00:53:13] [inaudible 00:53:16]. But [inaudible 00:53:20] [inaudible 00:53:22]. Like [inaudible 00:53:24] [inaudible 00:53:25]. Like we could be here on the stage [inaudible 00:53:29] all these people here, like [inaudible 00:53:32] [inaudible 00:53:35] [inaudible 00:53:37] even though how do you [inaudible 00:53:40]. That’s all I’m going to say. Thank you very much.

Connie Cho:

And all of a sudden, there’s a question in the back. I’ll just say too, nothing impacts or shames an elected official more than a young person speaking their truth.

Abby Young:

Absolutely true.

Speaker 14:

Yeah. So what strategies have you found effective or what successes have you had in trying to… I know you mentioned the steelworker strike and everything, I think. So what strategies, what successes have you had in working with labor? Because I know in a lot of instances, working labor unions tied to fossil fuel industries sometimes just be your fiercest opponents. And I think back to the modified hydrofluoric acid fight in South Coast, which only affected two refineries. We got push back harder from labor than anybody else or even this past legislative session. SB 342 to add two environmental justice seats to the Southwest [inaudible 00:54:46] board. Labor was doing the work with [inaudible 00:54:50] and the [inaudible 00:54:51]. Yep.

Connie Cho:

We also got to answer the question.

Abby Young:

Yeah. There was one of the question because they may be related to answers.

Speaker 15:

They’re not. That’s a great question. I want to say thank you so much, especially for rooting us in people’s stories and like that way. Right. My grandma doesn’t understand it. It’s not [inaudible 00:55:08]. So I just thank you for that clarity on this. My question is like a strategy or a policy question. When we look at… This conference is covering so many topics, transportation and lands and buildings and electric sector. And so many sectors instead of deadline and goals that I’m curious, especially for oi… Like it’s just starting to for oil well. But for refineries, if there’s thoughts about, “Do we set a deadline for when every refinery in California stops operating?” And I know the answer for our community should have been like decades ago. And so how do you figure out when we really just say this can no longer operate and I’m no longer allowed to be. Just really curious that thought you had about setting deadlines.

Abby Young:

Which impacts the workforce [inaudible 00:55:52] questions.

Connie Cho:

Yes. They’re definitely interrelated. One of the things that when we were on the [inaudible 00:55:58] in Campbell from [inaudible 00:56:01], one of the things we talked about is that we were completing our [inaudible 00:56:07] without commencing as [inaudible 00:56:09] central planning for us. But a fossil fuel safety net fund for workers and communities for regional police, healthcare, peer counseling. Not just job training, like much more comprehensive and can check out more [inaudible 00:56:23] [inaudible 00:56:23] report about immediate climate just plan where lots of unions sent onto that.

Connie Cho:

Also thinking about public sector unions. And they had done their own work. They were organizing labor. And we aligned with them when they saw actually their numbers don’t include something like biofuel conversion actually. With the research, their numbers [inaudible 00:56:48]. We really see common ground there and lot the risks of bankruptcy and the risk [inaudible 00:56:53] managed. And one of the big questions is timeline, right? Because if you don’t have funds as in a safety net funds, as a union, you can’t just start talking phasing out, right? And so for that for them, I think it was [inaudible 00:57:07] is that’s what I understood. And so for us, that only been… I think that means realigning our strategy to really push hard on the safety net funds so that we can build a larger coalition.

Connie Cho:

In terms of deadlines that structured in this building plan e3. And so that’s the [inaudible 00:57:24]. Basically, the climate modeling, that’s done for the scoping plan, this giant kind of blueprint for climate change like the climate crisis in California. They did a preliminary report back in [inaudible 00:57:36] October 2020 called the chief carbon neutrality that basically shows even in the least aggressive scenario, 90% pf refining will phase out by 2025. And a hundred percent in the higher, more aggressive scenarios, a hundred percent. And this is only looking at California refining. All these questions around and the companies going to deforest the Amazon more to get more crude, and then they’re going to export one. Because the reality is that through the world carbon fuel standard, we haven’t actually… The exports haven’t gone down.

Connie Cho:

So the total amount of oil that’s been coming out into the world isn’t actually going down. It’s being increased, and we’re just not counting it in scoping units. So we’re sort of cheating the system on the accounting. There are a lot of legal reasons why that’s really complicated to address. But yeah, it’s tricky. Can I add… On a personal… An interpersonal level, especially around strategies. Because I go to the line three to four times every single day or every week, building relationships and trust around common issues, common grounds this safety has been huge because our union is fighting for safety reps that Chevron no longer has. And they’re also fighting for environmental justice reps.

Connie Cho:

And so we’re finding these common ground, and we’re not yet immediately going to adjust transition. We’re here just to list to their stories, just like we want them to listen to ours. And what we’ve been finding and how we’ve been building these relationships is when they see a player because they know folks that are still refinery still totally in operation right now by Chevron management and outside folks. They’re telling community members, “There’s a flare. Call Back-Met.” And we’re mobilizing immediately.

Connie Cho:

And all of a sudden, for the first time just on Friday, and it’s unfortunate. The last three weeks, there have been 10 flares in Chevron and the workers have been calling. And then when they started saying, “We’re calling,” we’re not getting the call back. Community members started calling. I started activating youth going on Instagram saying, “Call right now. There’s a flare.” All of a sudden, Back-Met again to talk about when his history of environmental racism within back men. But really all of a sudden, Back-Met is calling and sending inspectors immediately, getting immediate phone calls.

Connie Cho:

And now workers are saying, “This is the first time that the director of compliance is calling me.” I want to share not just what’s happening right now, but I want to share some malpractice that’s been happening in regards to shutting off sensors, blowing out sensors. Because now the pressure is on Chevron. It’s us, the community, and the workers together. And we’re not fighting each other anymore. We’re fighting Chevron. And when we always put that into perspective, I think it’s what’s creating an alliance. So that when we have trust, we can move towards a just transition. And that conversation that no one is left behind. Right. Great.

Abby Young:

Well, thank you everyone. I think we’re on break now. But I want to thank Marisol and Connie very much.