SEIU 1021

SEIU 1021 leaders back a new Air Quality Resolution to Protect our Communities


As the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board gets set to vote on a new resolution to protect our air and reduce particulate matter on Wednesday, July 21, SEIU 1021 leaders are voicing their support to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities.

SEIU 1021 President Joseph Bryant, SEIU 1021 VP of Politics Ramsés Teón-Nichols, and Climate Justice Committee Co-Chairs Alex Morrison and Marth Hawthorne have all signed onto a resolution to implement the strongest version of the proposed amendments to Regulation 6, Rule 5. The vote on July 21 will decide whether to approve Rule 6.5, also known as the Cat Cracker rule. 

The City of Richmond has historically been an environmental sacrifice zone. For decades, pollution from the Chevron Richmond and PBF Martinez refineries has caused devastating health consequences for Richmond and neighboring communities and counties. Particulate matter (PM) air pollution kills up to 3,000 Bay Area residents every year. The worst non-transportation source of PM pollution in the Bay Area is the refineries’ Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Units, or “cat crackers.” The City of Richmond’s asthma rate is twice the average for California cities. After a 1.5-year study, the Air District stationary source committee has recommended strong reductions in Particulate Matter (PM) which are released during the refining process.

The most stringent version of this recommendation would require installing the most advanced cleaning technology—wet scrubbers. Over half of the refineries across the country have these advanced scrubbers, which would would lower PM pollution by an estimated 70%. This would reduce the devastating health impacts facing our communities such as low birth weight, increased lung disease and asthma, neurological disease, heart disease, and exacerbated COVID-19 symptoms. 

SEIU 1021 is proud to stand with other Bay Area community leaders, medical professionals, grassroots organizations, and other community stakeholders to support the health of our community and our environment. 

Climate Justice Committee Co-Chair Marth Hawthorne said, “I am thrilled to see our union take a strong stance requiring oil refineries to reduce the pollution they spew out in Richmond and beyond. We desperately need cleaner air and demand that no person or community be sacrificed due to corporate inaction. The entire Bay Area will benefit from stronger regulation.  Let’s all contact our representatives on the BAAMD. Together we win!”

What YOU can do:

Use this toolkit to write an Op-Ed, send an email, or call your representative before the vote on July 21st. We are so close to having one of the greatest particulate matter reductions for the Bay Area. Let’s remind our elected officials that they’re responsible for protecting our air and our health.