As Richmond’s City Council considered whether or not to approve the Chevron Refinery Modernization Project, a group of community residents and Chevron workers expressed their support of the $1 billion project at a public hearing this week.
The Planning Commission is recommending that the council approve Alternative 11, which includes reduced sulfur processing, no increase in refinery greenhouse gas emissions, and other conditions of approval for the project, according to the city report.
One suggested condition is that the City Council enters into a community health and wellness agreement with Chevron that would provide $30 million for community programs such as scholarships, job training, and funding for a community greenhouse gas reduction program.
The city report details that Chevron’s proposed project includes “equipment improvements to remove naturally occurring sulfur,” and design features that reduce emissions including energy-saving LED lighting, to maintain a safer facility. The project is expected to produce 1,000 new construction jobs.
Chevronofficials have agreed to include Alternative 11 in the project and increase their community investment from $30 million to $60 million, the Richmond Standard reports.
“This project balances the good of the company and the community,” said Kory Judd, General Manager for the refinery, on Tuesday.
Chevron officials encouraged the council to accept the project’s current conditions at Tuesday’s public hearing. Reports say nearly 100 people spoke at the meeting, some advocating for the proposed project and others supporting recommendations suggested by the Planning Commission.
Reports say Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles are expected to support the Planning Commission’s recommendations, while council members Nat Bates and Corky Booze are expected to back Chevron’s proposal. Council members Tom Butts, Jim Rogers, and Jael Myrick decisions’ may determine how the council votes next week.
City Council is expected to make a decision on the project on July 29.