Opponents of a new hydrogen plant under construction at Chevron Corp's San Francisco Bay-area refinery in Richmond, California, plan to ask a California judge to stop the project because of a flawed environmental impact report, an attorney said Tuesday.
We have a good case for requesting the permits for the project be withdrawn, said Will Rostov of Earthjustice.
Last week, Contra Costa County Judge Barbara Zuniga agreed with Earthjustice and two community groups that the project's environmental impact report failed to depict how pollution from the refinery might be changed by the project and provide a greenhouse gas mitigation plan as required by California law.
But Zuniga did not say whether her ruling meant permits based on the report and authorizing construction of the hydrogen plant, which began in September, along with a cogeneration unit would have to be withdrawn.
It's up to the judge to determine what happens next, said Richmond City Attorney Randy Riddle.
The Richmond City Council granted the permits last summer after a contentious debate over the $1-billion project. Opponents believe the hydrogen plant will allow the refinery to run heavier grades of crude oil, which they say contain higher amounts of pollutants like mercury and selenium.
A Chevron spokesman said the company believed the project had been properly approved.
We are reviewing the specifics of the decision and then will determine a course of action in consultation with the City of Richmond, said Chevron's Brent Tippen.
Zuniga has not set a date to issue future rulings in the case, Rostov said.
Chevron has said the new units are needed to replace outdated equipment and to make the refinery more competitive in today's markets.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Marguerita Choy)