Chevron releases final EIR for Richmond refinery project

Chevron Corp. has released a long-awaited final environmental impact report (EIR) for the modernization project at its 257,000-b/d Richmond, Calif., refinery.

The final EIR was released on June 9 following a public comment period on the draft EIR that closed on May 2, Chevron said in a statement announcing the document’s release.

According to an introduction to the 2,500-page report, comments received on the March draft EIR did not identify new significant impacts, result in a substantial increase in the severity of impacts, or introduce feasible project alternatives or mitigation measures for the project that differ considerably from those already addressed by Chevron.

The final EIR, however, does provide responses to each comment received on the draft EIR and, where necessary, revises the report to address those public comments as well as correct or clarify material from the draft version in accordance with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Chevron said.

The release comes just days after a California-based environmental group filed a lawsuit requesting a California superior court to revoke a permit that would allow the company to proceed with the $1 billion modernization project based upon alleged violations of CEQA by the regulatory agency that issued and subsequently renewed the permit (OGJ Online, June 6, 2014).

While the currently planned modernization project at Richmond will not change the basic operation or capacity of the refinery, it will provide the plant flexibility to process crude oil blends and gas oils containing higher levels of sulfur.

But the replacement of some of the oldest processing equipment at the refinery with safer modern technology conforming to some of the toughest air quality standards in the US will enable the plant to meet stricter state and federal air pollution regulations despite processing crudes with higher sulfur content, according to Chevron (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014).

While the company expects the City of Richmond Planning Commission will consider the final EIR and modernization project sometime in June, specific dates have yet to be confirmed, Chevron said.

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