Bay Area activists respond to Phillips 66's announcement to convert Rodeo refinery to renewable diesel



By Dan Bacher | 

RODEO, CALIFORNIA — On August 20, San Francisco Bay Area activists responded to Phillips 66’s August 12th announcement that the company would close its Santa Maria refining facility, its carbon plant in Rodeo, and convert its 122,000 bpd Rodeo petroleum refinery to a 42,000 bpd renewable diesel facility by 2024.
In the announcement, Phillips 66 said it “plans to reconfigure its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California, to produce renewable fuels. The plant would no longer produce fuels from crude oil, but instead would make fuels from used cooking oil, fats, greases and soybean oils.”
“The Phillips 66 Rodeo Renewed project would produce 680 million gallons annually of renewable diesel, renewable gasoline, and sustainable jet fuel. Combined with the production of renewable fuels from an existing project in development, the plant would produce greater than 800 million gallons a year of renewable fuels, making it the world’s largest facility of its kind,” the company stated.
The groups said this “abrupt revelation — which joins the recent announcement of the idling of the Marathon Martinez refinery” — is “another example of what will likely happen in an unmanaged transition off of fossil fuels.” Phillips 66 made the announcement without advanced warning to Contra Costa County decision-makers and without community involvement.
Members of the Protect the Bay coalition, formed in 2019 to prevent the expansion of the Phillips 66 refinery and marine terminal in Rodeo, expressed the following concerns and questions in response to Phillips 66’s announcement:
Shoshana Wechsler, Sunflower Alliance: "We congratulate Phillips 66 on its long-overdue admission that refining petroleum is toxic and harmful. But becoming the world’s largest supplier of biodiesel by merely recycling used cooking oil doesn’t quite compute. That’s a whole lot of freedom fries. Let’s face it — refining and burning 'renewable' transportation fuels is only a first step towards genuine sustainability.”
Wilder Zeiser, Stand.earth: “On the face of it, reducing Phillips 66’s refining capacity could be a positive step, in alignment with CBE’s recent report, “Decommissioning California Refineries.” But to understand the details — local pollution shifts, where the feedstock will come from, how many millions of acres could be needed for soy and palm trees — there must be a full-scale environmental review combined with a 180 degree shift away from their planned tar sands expansion.”
Nancy Rieser, Crockett Rodeo United to Defend the Environment (CRUDE): "We need to be mindful of 'greenwashing' during these times when refineries look for ways to prolong their life cycles while the world moves toward solar energy and electrified transportation. This project, in particular, bears closer scrutiny. The first press release about this project stated that used cooking oil would be the primary feedstock and was silent about the need to turn millions of acres into soybean production. It also suggested that less harmful emissions will be coming out of the stacks."
Gary Hughes, Biofuelwatch: “The false promises of biofuels are being leveraged by Phillips 66 to hide their ambition to stay locked in on fossil fuel energy far into the future. Our organization stands with the residents and working people throughout the North Bay refinery corridor that are organizing for a just transition and demanding an end to the treatment of their communities as sacrifice zones.”
Janet Pygeorge, President, Rodeo Citizens Association: "Our vision for Rodeo does not include Phillips 66. How dare they use our community name in their project of fake promises. Read between the lines: What kind of feedstocks? There is no mention of scrubbers to prevent toxic emissions into the atmosphere. In Rodeo, our families live every day knowing the toxic air we breathe destroys our immune system and is a silent killer 365 days a year, 24/7. A few of us left to continue our fight to save lives. BAAQMD, listen to our plea to live. You must protect the people.” 
ABOUT PROTECT THE BAY




 






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