Again it’s accident time on the Bay for the oil industry, this time in Richmond. Not just in Prince William Sound, not just in the Gulf of Mexico, but here too, on our very own San Francisco Bay.
Just as we read the ‘good’ news that money from the Cosco Busan settlement is going to fill in gaps in the Bay Trail and to restore Breuner Marsh, Chevron has to go and explode. Maybe Chevron will be forced to spend a small fraction of its billions of dollars of annual profits on some beneficial projects too, but it’s too late for the real good news: that would be for Chevron never to have caught fire in the first place. More bad news is in store–again brought to us largely by the oil industry–with global climate disruption and sea-level rise, also with very specific consequences for San Francisco Bay.
The Sierra Club joins the chorus (led by the Ella Baker Center) insisting that the oil industry pay fairly for the damage it causes–for the harm to public resources and for the harm to individual workers and residents (though the payments are always too little, too late). We support the unions and neighbors who call for operating tankers and oil rigs and the Chevron refinery safely (or as safely as humans can operate such inherently dangerous facilities).
But more important–let’s get rid of these hazards altogether; let’s stop these disasters by ending our dependence on oil. The Beyond Oil campaign is one of the Sierra Club’s top priorities. In particular the Sierra Club aims to increase production and use of clean, highly efficient vehicles powered by sustainable, low-carbon fuels and electricity, and to better design communities with access to convenient alternatives to driving.
We were working on these concerns before this Chevron explosion (and before the Cosco Busan and before the previous Chevron explosion too). We’ll keep working on them, and each additional disaster reminds us of the importance of the work.
Here in the Bay Chapter, we focus on developing a local transportation system that encourages people to travel as energy-efficiently as possible, minimizing use of fossil fuels and production of greenhouse gases. This work includes:
- supporting transit, bicycles, and walking, rather than cars and highways;
- using transit funding cost-effectively in different modes and locations;
- integrating transportation with land use;
- improving gas mileage;
- advocating for environmental justice in transportation services.
Most issues of the Yodeler have articles on this work. For a constantly updated file of these articles, see http://theyodeler.org/?cat=133.
To keep informed of opportunities to join in these efforts–by attending events, by writing letters, or in other ways–go to www.sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org. Click on “Keep informed” and then on “Email bulletins”. Sign up there for your local edition of the Chapter’s e-mail Bulletin and for “Updates and alerts”.
To work with the Chapter Energy Committee for a clean, oil-free energy future, contact committee chair David Gray at (510)375-9660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a detailed account of the accident see the blog of Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
Don Forman, editor, the Yodeler