A 12-Step Program for Chevron

Here is what Chevron could do to move beyond business as usual and truly set an example for the rest of the oil industry.

1: Instead of seeking to invest $2 billion to allow its Richmond
refinery to process tar sands and other forms of dirtier crude, perhaps
Chevron should first invest some portion of this sum into upgrading
this refinery into a state-of-the-art facility, and then see if there
is a way to process dirtier forms of crude oil without increasing risks
to the citizens of Richmond and without making major
contributions to global climate change.

2: Use its Chevron Energy Solutions subsidiary to foster good
relations in the communities it operates, hiring locally to install
solar photovoltaic and energy efficiency systems. Work with Solar
Richmond in Richmond and design a solar power plan to offset any new
refinery emissions through greater penetrations of solar photovoltaic
throughout Contra Costa County, but especially in Richmond.

3: Try to settle with the Ecuador government and courts for an
amount that adequately supports on-the-ground solutions to the serious
environmental and health challenges facing Amazon villagers impacted by
oil operations. Work out a long-term plan to address the most egregious
environmental impacts of these legacy sites. Why not develop cleanup
technologies that could be tested there and then deployed by other oil
companies with similar legacy sites?

4: Use Burma as a stepping stone to call for greater transparency in
tracking where oil revenues go, becoming the first oil company to
endorse the concept of “publish what you pay.” Steering some portion of
the wealth created by its oil development to local communities is not
only being a good corporate citizen, but would likely reduce long-term
security costs, too.

5: Why not follow through on implementing a relocation in Kazakhstan
that recognizes that rural villagers cannot live in urban environments
without training and other accommodations? The cost is small, but the
gesture would surely signal that the company respects the law as well
as communities it does business in. With an expansion of the oil fields
there representing a $5 billion additional investment, not addressing
the needs of the village will only make Chevron and its partners look
like greedy capitalists.

6: Stop flaring gas in the Niger Delta, a decades-old practice that
causes health issues like asthma and other respiratory illnesses,
cancer, etc.; pollutes the soil so crops are stunted; causes acid rain
so poor villagers can’t even keep roofs on their houses; and is a major
contributor to global climate change. The natural gas burned off each
year in Nigeria could help power the continent of Africa.

7: Stop using the notoriously brutal Nigerian and Burmese militaries
as private security forces. Take responsibility for the company’s
security needs directly. Be accountable for their actions. Hire and
train a Chevron-employed security team.

8: Invest in real educational opportunities for all people living on
oil-producing lands. Instead of avoiding local hires to hide the way
they do business, make them a core part of the business so that locals
have a vested interest in the future of the land and their
jobs.

9: Provide clean drinking water and sanitation in communities such
as Ecuador and Nigeria, which no longer have access to clean water due
to pollution and refinery operations.

10: Develop a new global standard for oil operations that is
state-of-the-art and which would apply to all of its facilities located
throughout the world. The company could pre-empt non-governmental
organization campaigns by volunteering to lead in developing this
standard with or without the help of its fellow oil companies.

11: Beyond cleaning up its act at existing oil operations, Chevron
should diversify its portfolio of products. Today, the firm only
devotes about 3 percent of its total investment in developing
carbon-free power sources. Bump that up to 10 percent immediately, and
then double that commitment to 20 percent within the next five
years.

12: Like Pacific Gas & Electric, end its membership in the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce and lobby for meaningful federal legislation to
address climate change. Announce this dramatic departure in Copenhagen
this December. While you’re at it, why not follow through on Chevron
CEO O’Reilly’s pledge to work with the Sierra Club to pass climate
change legislation in Washington, DC?

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