Our Alliance was born out of a 4,000-strong demonstration on the first anniversary of the 2012 Chevron Refinery fire and explosion. Since then we have continued to work closely with residents in all communities affected by fossil fuel industries.
We have spearheaded some of the actions listed below. In other cases, we have played a supporting role, following the lead of local groups engaged in the struggles for a clean energy future.
We provided strong support to two grassroots groups, the Pittsburg Defense Council and the Pittsburg Ethics Council. Both groups were crucial to the success of the fight against the proposed WesPac oil storage and transfer terminal. The 125-acre terminal would have been built at the site of a decommissioned PG&E power plant, using its aged storage tanks. Sited less than half a mile from downtown, and near homes, schools, parks, and the waterfront, the project was met with powerful opposition from residents.
Members of the Sunflower Alliance helped strategize, did outreach for a march and rallies, canvassed neighborhoods, and organized public education events. We are proud to be allied with the residents of Pittsburg.
Rodeo, Hercules and Crockett
These communities along the Carquinez Strait are under threat. Phillips 66 has proposed construction of a facility for the recovery, storage and transportation of propane. The storage of 630,000 gallons of propane within 2,300 feet of residential areas would pose catastrophic risks. (More)
Despite approval of the Phillips project by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors and permitting by the Air District, the proposal is now tied up in lawsuits. Three local groups contend that Phillips and the County failed to disclose that the project relies on tar sands. Is that a project-stopper? Stay tuned.
Members of the Sunflower Alliance have strenuously voiced their concerns at public hearings, and organized a public “Toxics Tour” of hotspots scattered around this corridor.
For more information, visit the website of Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment, C.R.U.D.E.
The Valero Benicia Refinery has proposed a project to begin transporting crude oil from North American sources to Benicia by rail tanker cars.
The Sunflower Alliance supports the efforts of Benicians to halt the project by attending and testifying at public hearings on the project, staying informed of developments, publicizing events, and coordinating with leaders of their community.
For more information, visit the website, Benicians for a Safe & Health Community
The Martinez Environmental Group is dedicated to stopping the transit of explosive Bakken crude by rail, and reducing air pollution from industrial and other sources. Because the Shell Refinery is within city limits and Tesoro “Golden Eagle” Refinery in nearby Pacheco, Martinez residents are particularly aware of the risks posed by the transportation of explosive and toxic crude oil through and around their city. In January and February of this year, Sunflower Alliance members joined the picket line of United Steelworkers at the Tesoro refinery.
Learn more at the website of the Martinez Environmental Group.
The Sunflower Alliance was born out of a huge demonstration at the Chevron Richmond Refinery in August, 2013. Our focus on Chevron remains sharp.
In 2014 Chevron proposed a “modernization” project that expanded its capacity to handle higher sulfur content crude oil; increased the volume of hydrogen generated for the refining, and replaced pipes and equipment in only 20% of the plant. Working with Communities for a Better Environment, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and other local groups, members of the Sunflower Alliance have spoken at public hearings and organized educational forums. Thanks to this concerted pressure, as well as a letter from Attorney General Kamala Harris, a more stringent alternative to plant operating conditions was agreed to by Chevron and ultimately adopted by the Richmond City Council.
To learn more about our current work to reduce the climate impacts of the Chevron Richmond Richmond Refinery, visit the Chevron Watch campaign page.
Another potential threat is under scrutiny, this one riding the rails that carry crude to the Kinder-Morgan transfer facility. As of this writing, crude oil is not being shipped to that facility, but this can change with economic conditions that could increase the profitability of this risky business. Along with the city of Richmond and many of its neighborhood organizations, we have formally objected to the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board for secretly granting a “ministerial” permit of this facility in 2014, escaping public attention until it was too late for groups to challenge the decision.