Thursday, July 09, 2009

Jobs vs. The Environment - Just Another Day in California

Playing the "jobs" card has been a standard tactic for real estate developers for years. Recently, President Obama has used it to sell his energy agenda. Now, against a backdrop of 11.5% unemployment in California, Chevron is screaming "JOBS!!!"

After getting hit with a negative ruling on its EIR for the Richmond refinery upgrade, Chevron was ordered to halt construction on the project. The judge says the EIR was inadequate; Chevron disagrees and is appealing.

At issue are two massive furnaces designed to create hydrogen needed to refine "sour crude." But environmentalists say the furnaces are trojan horses that are capable of processing the ultra-dirty "heavy" crude and that is Chevron's true agenda.

Caught in the middle of the he-said, she-said are more than 1,000 workers construction workers and electricians who have been laid off.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, one environmental activist who is driving the fight against the expansion made the comment that Chevron is flush with cash and shouldn't lay off the workers. (He doesn't address what 1,000 construction workers and electrricians would actually do with the project shut down.)

Look for more grandstanding and demagoguery on this issue as the appeals play out.