For Immediate Release
Ananda Lee Tan, (415) 374-0615
Gopal Dayaneni, (510) 847-3592
31 Arrested for Interrupting Business as Usual at Chevron Headquarters
Protest and Non-Violent Civil Disobedience at Chevron, California’s worst climate polluter, on first day of United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen
WASHINGTON - As Chevron employees arrived to work early Monday morning, they were met by nearly 100 people who gathered in protest of
Chevron's global destruction of communities, the environment and the global
climate. Protestors interrupted business as usual at Chevron, by blocking
the main entrance to the corporation's headquarters, as well as two additional
entrances for several hours. 31 people were eventually arrested.
most of those arrested were cited and released.
The protest and non-violent civil disobedience was organized
by the Mobilization for Climate Justice West - a
coalition representing more than 30 local social justice, environmental, labor,
and human rights groups - today to coincide with the first day of the UN
climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark. Similar protests are taking
place nationally and globally.
As the largest and most polluting corporation in the state
of California, Chevron was targeted locally for undermining efforts to combat
global warming and expanding its operations into more environmentally
destructive and polluting forms of crude oil like the Canadian tar sands. And,
as the 3rd largest corporation in the U.S., Chevron is using its
immense financial resources to influence federal environmental policy. In the
first half of 2009, Chevron spent nearly $13 million lobbying the federal
government, more than twice the amount it spent during the same period in 2008.
David O'Reilly, Chevron's outgoing CEO, and John Watson, who
will succeed O'Reilly on January 1, have sharply criticized domestic global
warming legislation and robust long-term targets for reducing climate
pollution. Their arguments, rooted in corporate self-preservation at the
expense of the health and safety of people and the planet, fly in the face of a
scientific consensus that calls for rapid, drastic action to reduce climate
"By working to derail
effective climate change policy in the U.S., Chevron is undermining the UN
climate negotiations where other nations are looking to the U.S. to make
binding commitments to reduce emissions," said
Cathy Kunkel of Mobilization for Climate Justice. "Chevron's
opposition to significant action on climate change is in line with its history
of environmental and human rights abuses in communities all over the world."
Chevron's global operations, from Ecuador and Nigeria to
Burma and the Philippines, have had disastrous impacts on local communities and
ecosystems. Those impacts have also been felt closer to home. Last month, the
California Air Resources Board ranked Chevron's Richmond oil refinery as the
state's single largest climate polluter, emitting 4.8 million tons of
greenhouse gasses in 2008 alone.
Local residents in Richmond have been fighting for decades
to get Chevron to clean up its act. In addition to global warming pollution,
the refinery emits toxic air pollution that has driven high rates of asthma and
cancer in the surrounding community. Rather than address the effects of its
operations on the health of the local community, Chevron recently attempted an
expansion of its operations in Richmond that would have allowed the company to
process heavier crude oil.
According to Jessica Tovar, community organizer with
Communities for a Better Environment, "Chevron's Richmond refinery is the
number one greenhouse gas polluter in the state. Now is the time to make
a green transition, rather then lock in dirtier crude refining in
"Chevron is a bad neighbor, and the community of Richmond
has suffered as a result. We want Chevron to take responsibility for the
environmental damage it has caused here in Richmond and abroad," said Mari Rose
Taruc, State Organizing Director for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
"We want green jobs for Richmond and a healthy community, neither of which
Chevron has provided."
"Chevron has to know that we're not going away. We're
breathing and feeling the effects of Chevron's pollution every day. While
we go to the graveyard, Chevron goes to the bank. We're determined let Chevron
know that they're killing us in the process of making money. This has to
change," said Reverend Kenneth Davis from North Richmond after being arrested
Mobilization for Climate Justice West and more than 20
allied groups signed a letter to incoming Chevron CEO John Watson, calling on
him to take three immediate actions:
1. Support equitable, science-based emissions
reduction targets and climate solutions in international climate change
negotiations and domestically.
2. Pledge not to support fake "grassroots" campaigns against
national climate change legislation.
3. Cap the crude and stop expanding into heavier, dirtier
sources of crude oil.
for Climate Justice West is taking action on the first day of the international
climate negotiations in solidarity with allies in West Virginia who are
confronting the nation's fourth-largest coal producer, Massey Energy to demand
an end to destructive mountaintop removal coal mining (http://savecoalrivermountain.
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The Mobilization for Climate Justice is a North America-based network of organizations and activists who have joined together to build a North American climate justice movement that emphasizes non-violent direct action and public education to mobilize for effective and just solutions to the climate crisis. The Mobilization for Climate Justice invites communities, organizations and activists across North America to join us in organizing mass action on climate change on November 30, 2009 (N30). N30 is significant because it both immediately precedes the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP-15) and is the ten-year anniversary of the successful shut down of the WTO in Seattle, when activists worldwide came together to demonstrate the power of collective action. The Copenhagen climate meetings will be a major focus for international mass actions this November and December, and the MCJ is linked to these efforts as well.