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Traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands, OAKLAND, CA, Sept. 21, 2018 – Indigenous leaders from British Columbia and elected officials and local activists from the Bay Area held a panel on Thursday, September 20, highlighting the climate and air pollution connections between Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline and Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery expansion.
The panel, “Oil Pipelines Connecting Resistance: Extraction, Pipelines & Refineries,” discussed how resistance to oil pipelines, oil tankers, and refinery expansions connects frontline communities in Canada and the US who are rising to stop climate change.
Bay Area residents are concerned over how Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery expansion to bring in more oil tankers and process more heavy crude oil like tar sands will increase refinery emissions, worsen local air quality for nearby communities, and increase the risk of a devastating oil spill. If the refinery’s full expansion moves ahead, more than twice as many crude oil tankers would travel to the refinery, some of them carrying tar sands from Canada, which is extremely difficult to clean up.
“Building a pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands to Vancouver, BC-area ports would flood the global market with large amounts of higher polluting heavy crude. This would have serious negative impacts in our fight against global warming and could increase emissions around refineries in the Bay Area. That’s why we need to keep tar sands in the ground, stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, and prevent this dirtier crude from being processed in local refineries.” -John Gioia, member of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and board member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
“Tens of thousands of Bay Area residents oppose Phillips 66’s reckless plans to expand its wharf and refine tar sands at its Rodeo refinery. This would risk the health of San Francisco Bay, wreck the health of our neighbors living near the refinery, and further imperil the future of our planet. Just as people power stopped an oil terminal in Pittsburg and oil train projects in Benicia and San Luis Obispo, we will not rest until Phillips 66’s project is stopped dead in its tracks.” -Shoshana Wechsler, founding member of Sunflower Alliance
“Phillips 66’s expansion project for tar sands tankers endangers communities — particularly Indigenous ones — from its origin point in Alberta, Canada, along the West Coast tanker route, and finally to the San Francisco Bay. Along with the illusion that carbon trading eases environmental destruction, Phillips 66’s wharf expansion project is disastrous for Indigenous communities and poor communities of color along its path.” -Dr. Melinda Micco, member of the Seminole tribe and one of the founding grandmothers of Idle No More SF Bay
“Marginalized communities worldwide are affected by wildfires, hurricanes, and drought due to climate change. For generations, First Nations and Indigenous peoples have been leaders in standing up to big oil — even more so as we push to stop refinery expansions, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and protect our air, land, and water rights from climate profiteers.” -Isabella Zizi, Climate Campaigner with Stand.earth and Idle No More SF Bay
“Tsleil Waututh Nation people stand together and with our allies, and we say ‘no’ to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project and Phillips 66’s wharf expansion proposal. The risk we are asked to bear is too great for our inlet and everything that lives in it. The continued extraction of tar sands and how it contributes to climate change should be reason enough to halt these types of expansion projects.” -Charlene Aleck, councilmember with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in British Columbia
“It’s our moral duty to stand up to projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project and Phillips 66’s wharf expansion proposal. All of our loved ones — from First Nations in Alberta and British Columbia to Indigenous peoples and frontline communities living along tanker routes and near refineries — deserve to have a safe and secure future free from sickness due to the threat of an oil spill and increased air pollution from nearby refineries.” -Cedar George Parker, member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in British Columbia and the Tulalip Tribe in Washington State
TEACH-IN AND PRAYER WALK
On Saturday, September 22, from 11am-1pm, indigenous leaders will lead a peaceful teach-in and prayer walk at Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery for Bay Area residents to learn more about the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery expansion, and how they can participate in upcoming events.
The teach-in is hosted by Indigenous Women of the Americas: Defenders of Mother Earth Treaty with support from Idle No More SF Bay and Stand.earth.
Interested participants can meet at Lone Tree Point, 24 Pacific Avenue, Rodeo, CA 94572.
From 2014-2017, Idle No More SF Bay hosted monthly healing walks at refineries in the Bay Area to raise awareness of the fossil fuel corridor, communities living in nearby sacrifice zones, and the devastating health impacts to people living near the refineries.
BACKGROUND ON PHILLIPS 66 EXPANSION
Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery is currently seeking permits to expand its wharf capacity and more than double the number of oil tankers traveling to its refinery through San Francisco Bay. Some of those oil tankers would carry tar sands from Canada. Read more: Phillips 66 seeks to increase number of oil tankers on San Francisco Bay (Benicia Independent)
Canada has shipped crude oil to California for years. According to a 2018 Greenpeace report, over the last five years, two thirds of tankers loaded with crude oil from the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline went to California. Bay Area activists are concerned about the potential for increases in tar sands tankers coming to California from both the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. Despite a recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeal ruling that puts construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion on hold while requiring proper consultation with First Nations and an examination of vessel traffic impacts to the Southern Resident Killer Whales, the Canadian federal government has indicated it wants to resume construction on the expansion project as soon as possible.
Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) staff recently approved an administrative permit allowing Phillips 66 to increase its hydrocracking capacity to be able to process larger quantities of heavy crude oil like tar sands, all of which could arrive by tanker if the refinery’s wharf expansion is permitted. Activists argue this administrative permit allows the refinery to “piecemeal” its larger wharf expansion project to bring in more tar sands tankers and should be considered as a single expansion project for environmental review.
The permit was issued without any public review or notice while BAAQMD Chief Air Pollution Control Officer Jack Broadbent was out of town. Broadbent, the sole decision maker on Phillips 66’s permits for the wharf expansion, John Gioia, a member of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and board member of BAAQMD, and other BAAQMD board members were in Canada on a “tar sands fact finding mission” to meet with industry and First Nations representatives about the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.
Watch a YouTube video by Gioia about the trip and his thoughts on the risks to the Bay Area from the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.