Environmental Lawsuit Costs 1000 Jobs in Richmond

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

A Superior Court decision preventing refinery expansion to move ahead in Richmond may have added a thousand workers to California’s unemployment rolls. Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barbara Zuniga told Chevron to close down the refinery expansion in a dispute with environmentalists over the type of crude oil to be refined at the plant.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, those who sued Chevron to cut off the work then demanded that workers be kept on the payroll until a resolution of the dispute occurs.

That’s if there is a resolution. One way to prevent the remodeling from ever happening is to stall negotiations one way or another. Meanwhile, Chevron is supposed to be paying the workers? That’s not how the world works.

Chevron has already dismissed 100 of the thousand workers on the job and more will go as soon as the work is shut down. Chevron estimated that the stopped project will cost contract workers $50 to $75 million in lost income.

The lost jobs hit the workers hard, but they also hit the city and county treasuries hard as well, as laid off workers are not paying taxes they would if the job is moving ahead. The county will be short property taxes it would have gained from a remodeled facility.

Private sector unions should take a long look at how many jobs are being lost because of continued environmental demands and try to intervene and help settle disputes before jobs disappear.

Urban Scholar Joel Kotkin made a point of singling out environmentalists who “rampage through every part of the economy” in his Forbes.com analysis of “Who Killed California’s Economy.”

Kotkin warned that the loser of California’s environmental demands is often “California’s middle and working classes, the people who drive trucks, who work in factories and warehouses or who have white-collar jobs tied to these industries.”

Workers beware and get involved to save jobs.

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