Press Release

Nurses Join Massive Protest on Anniversary of Chevron Richmond Refinery Fire Saturday

Cite climate change and toxic tar sand as number one danger to public’s health
Richmond, CA—Registered nurses will join a broad and growing number of labor, environmental, and community organizations in one of the largest climate justice events in recent history on Saturday, the first-year anniversary of the catastrophic explosion and fire whose massive vapor cloud nearly killed 19 workers and sent 15,000 Richmond residents to local hospitals.

The Richmond action is part of prominent environmental activist Bill McKibben’s’s nationwide Summer Heat campaign, which calls for active local resistance to the fossil fuel industry. The earth has lurched past the ominous milestone of 400 parts per million concentration of carbon dioxide, and now local refineries are beginning to import Canadian tar sands for processing in the Bay Area.

The coalition is demanding that Chevron stop refining all dirty crude, not only for the daily pollution it causes, but because its high sulfur content corrodes refinery machinery, contributing to major industrial accidents like the one on August 6, 2012.

What:              Summer Heat Action in Richmond
When:             Saturday, August 3, 2013—10:00 a.m. meetup, 11 a.m. rally
Where:            Richmond BART Station
March:            From Richmond BART to Chevron refinery
Rally:              Chevron refinery, S. Castro Street gate

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United has played a leading role in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline project because of its proven adverse health effects as well as environmental consequences. Among the many potential known health effects from the various toxic chemicals are cancer, birth defects, nervous and immune system disorders, and kidney and liver damage.  CNA/NNU organized a successful protest against the Keystone pipeline with a march across the Golden Gate Bridge last month.

“As a maternity nurse and a mother, I am concerned about both the ongoing safety issues identified at the Chevron refinery as well as the importation and burning of dirty, tar sands oil that will contribute to increased toxins in our local environment as well as worsening our climate crisis,” said Katy Roemer, a Kaiser Oakland RN.  “We are standing up as nurses with the people of Richmond, who suffer a disproportionately high number of health problems as a result of the fossil fuel industry, to demand a healthy energy policy for current and future generations.”

Summer Heat demands include:

  • No more toxic hazards.
  • No Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
  • No refining tar sands or fracked crude.
  • Yes to a just transition from dirty fossil fuels to union jobs in clean energy!

“The Chevron Richmond refinery is the single largest producer of greenhouse gases in California,” said Andrés Soto of Communities for a Better Environment, and one of the organizers of the protest.   “These gases travel over the Carquinez Straits and into the Central Valley, which is intensely polluted. And they contribute in a very major way to accelerating climate change all over the planet.”
The march to the refinery will feature stops for testimony by survivors of the fire, as well as speeches by Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Bill McKibben.