Chevron declines Brown's offer to mediate dispute

Kathy Woods Jul. 29, 2009, 10:49am

Jerry Brown (D)

RICHMOND, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Chevron has refused Brown's offer to mediate talks between the chemical company and environmentalists.

In September, the West County Toxics Coalition, Communities for a Better Environment and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network sued the city of Richmond and Chevron over construction at the local refinery.

A judge has ordered permits suspended until questions about the environmental impact are answered.

Chevron and the environmental groups have met several times trying to reach an agreement but are currently at a standstill.

Brown offered his assistance at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. City officials and the environmentalists have accepted Brown's offer but, Chevron believes they can reach an agreement on their own.

More than 1,200 building trades workers have been laid off while more than 3,000 secondary jobs to the project will be lost if an agreement is not reached, said the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council.

The trade group wrote in a statement, "It is of the utmost importance that all parties act responsibly and reach a settlement as soon as possible."

Chevron insists that by replacing the old equipment it would make the refinery safer and more efficient and would continue to refine light to medium crude.

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