The Richmond (Calif.) City Council narrowly upheld Chevron Corp.'s plan to spend nearly $1 billion to upgrade its century-old Richmond refinery.
The council voted 5-4 to back the city Planning Commission's June approval of the project environmental impact report, and 6-1 to approve the commission's approval of a conditional use permit for the project. Both Chevron and project opponents appealed the planning commission decisions to the council.
In approving the EIR last month, the commission placed a restriction on the types of crude oil the refinery can process as a mitigation measure. Project opponents, including environmentalists, wanted the EIR recirculated, tougher restrictions and other provisions to benefit the public.
The San Ramon energy company first proposed the upgrade more than three years ago. It includes a new, larger hydrogen plant, a new power plant and reformer, and several smaller components such as replacing or adding new storage tanks and the construction of other new facilities.
Chevron said the upgrades would increase energy efficiency and equipment reliability, and boost production of gasoline for the California market. The refinery's overall processing capacity of about 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day would not change. The process upgrades would allow the company to process a wider slate of crude oil.
Shares of Chevron fell 72 cents to $85.67.
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