Berkeley forum to address impact of petroleum refineries on the social environment

| Publication: Contra Costa Times | Author: Tom Lochner

BERKELEY — The forum “A Just Transition: From Refineries to Renewables” at the David Brower Center on Tuesday will discuss the impact of industry, in particular petroleum refineries, on the social environment. The Sunflower Alliance is co-presenter.

The forum is being held in conjunction with an exhibit by photographer Edward Burtynsky, whose work focuses on the way industry alters and reshapes natural landscapes, according to a news release from the Brower Center. “Most Bay Area residents are unaware of the extent to which their bodies, homes, workplaces and communities are affected by local refineries and refinery-related transport,” the news release continues.

Scheduled speakers include Jack Lucero Fleck of 350 Bay Area, Jessica Hendricks of Global Community Monitor, oil and energy journalist Antonia Juhasz, Greg Karras of Communities for a Better Environment, Colin Miller of Bay Localize, as well Janet Pygeorge of the Rodeo Citizens Association and Nancy Rieser of the Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition and C.R.U.D.E. — the initials stand for Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment.

The topic is both timely and geographically appropriate. A propane-and-butane recovery project at the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo, approved by Contra Costa County. is being challenged in court by environmental groups. Another Phillips 66 refinery, on the Central California coast, is planning a rail spur project that would bring in about 250 trains a year — possibly through the East Bay and South Bay — likely loaded with tar sands oil from Canada.

The forum is from 7-9 p.m. at 2150 Allston Way. Tickets can be purchased online at Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at

(original article)