Our organization and
its supporters are committed to improving the plight of the
disenfranchised residents of West County.
We have struggled throughout the years to include and represent the
interests of the underrepresented and disenfranchised communities that
often have no representation on city and county governmental bodies that
impact their lives. The West
County Toxics Coalition has remained rooted in the community through its
structure and organizational practices that effectively utilize local
West County Toxics is a former 20 year member of the
Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Commission.
We strive to achieve
environmental justice in West County by:
Mobilized thousands of
residents to stop the Chevron Expansion. The case is on appeal in Superior
Court, and a decision is expected in April 2009.
emissions by refineries. West
County Toxics Coalition was a major force in getting the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District to finally conduct a Flare Study at
refineries. The study has
revealed that the amount of emissions from flares is possibly twenty times
higher than previously stated. The air district plans to adopt a rule that would require
flare monitoring at refineries that will record the amounts of emissions
released and the type of emissions. This
information will result in the air district adopting another rule that
would require control measures for flares that would result in the
emissions being recycled back into the process or used for another
purpose, but not released into to the atmosphere exposing sensitive
populations of children with asthma and seniors.
Participating in state
EPA committee. West
County Toxics Coalition continues to serve on the California Environmental
Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.
This committee is developing the Environmental Justice Strategy for
the State of California that will stop the ongoing disproportionate impact
from chemical pollutants that low-income communities of color are exposed
people of color into the leadership of the West County toxics movement.
The mainstream environmental movement traditionally has been
predominated by middle and upper class constituencies, leaving no voice or
power to the low-income and minority residents whose neighborhoods often
face the greatest toxics threat.
Compelling industry to
negotiate directly with citizens.
As WCTC succeeds in its objective to sign collective bargaining
agreements with the management of chemical polluters and bar the setting
of hazardous waste facilities, it will revolutionize the way citizens and
industries resolve environmental problems.
Building a sustainable,
grassroots membership organization in West County.
Through the work of WCTC, residents have gained a political voice
and are realizing their potential when organized.
WCTC accomplishments during the past few years cover a broad spectrum of
community events such as:
2007 - Richmond Environmental
Justice and Health Leadership Academy - In its first year the
Academy trained 10 youth.
July, 2007 -
Crematorium loses in 9-0 Richmond City Council vote West
County Toxics Coalition led the organizing drive to stop the sitting
of the Apollo crematorium in the North Richmond community near a
daycare center and community park. The crematorium would have released
mercury emissions and dead body ashes over the primarily black and
Latino residents in North Richmond. Mercury is a neurological toxin
that effects children learning ability. The Richmond City Council
voted 9 to 0 against the Crematorium.
We held community
meetings for residents in the Richmond area for input on the
Richmond Industry Safety Ordinance.
The Ordinance was adopted in November 2001, and helped reduced
the risk to residents from industrial operations and resulted in a
Our work with CAL/FED
continues through 2002 to address issues in environmental justice, and
water policy management and water policy, which relates to health of
residents in low-income communities of color that WCTC serves.
CAL/FED is a coalition of federal and state water management
We were successful in 2001
in getting the Bay Area Quality Management District Resource Board
and the EPA to install a dioxin monitor in the low-income North
Richmond area. Residents
in this area are concerned about dioxin exposure from industrial
sources and possible health related problems.
We were involved in the state’s
energy policy debate related to the health concerns of low-income
residents to ensure that new energy development in the state includes
renewable energy, like solar and wind energy, and that low-income
communities of color, particularly, will not continue to be
disproportionately impacted and targeted for citing dirty energy
In March of 1999, the new Center
for Health opened in North Richmond serving 3,000 residents.
The 1.8 million-dollar facility grew out of a settlement won
over General Chemical Plant toxic spill.
The WCTC was instrumental in negotiating with officials to push
along Center development, and earned a permanent seat on the
Center’s Board of Directors.
We are an integral part of
the delegation that got the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District (BAAQMD) to adopt new regulations on August 4, 1999,
pledging to work to improve air quality in communities that are
disproportionately affected by pollution.
The communities tend to have large concentrations of poor and
One of our greatest
victories to date is the closure of the Chevron incinerator.
This is a result of a six-year battle between Chevron, WCTC,
and other environmental groups. The
incinerator spews a known carcinogen, Methylene Chloride and Dioxins
into the North Richmond area, which includes Peres Elementary School,
exposing children to serious chemical hazards.
The WCTC continues to push for relocation assistance to union
workers who were laid off in addition to monitoring the site and to
make sure the site is properly cleaned-up.
We mobilized thousands
of residents from 1989 to 1994, in response to major chemical
accidents by the Chevron Oil refinery and the General Chemical plant
to demand compensation, prevention of future accidents, and
remediation of existing systems.
August 3, 2013, mobilized over 3,000 people to
march on the Chevron Refinery commemorating the August 6, 2013 fire
and explosion that sent over 15,000 people to local hospitals.