The Green Energy Team advocates for the transition to sustainable energy sources and away from fossil fuels.
In Contra Costa, that’s a big deal—our county is home to four refineries and their pipelines. And without a complete ban on drilling, the dozens of idle oil and gas wells in East County could threaten community health.
With our partner organizations, the Green Energy Team is working to reduce refinery pollution, improve safety, and ultimately to decommission all refineries.
We petition the county supervisors for a countywide ban on oil and gas drilling and infrastructure. Led by Sunflower Alliance and inspired by student demonstrations, we joined the outraged protests over new drilling near Antioch High School and Kaiser Hospital. We seek to “keep it in the ground” and stop reactivation of idle wells.
Refineries and oil infrastructure are responsible for many disastrous accidents in our county. From the 2012 Richmond Chevron refinery explosion that sent 15,000 people to the hospital, to recent spills such as the 2020 Kinder Morgan pipeline leak of 63,000 gallons of gas into a downtown Walnut Creek canal, to the 2019 NuStar Tank Farm Explosion which shut down Interstate 80, the dangers of petroleum refining and transport are never far from local residents.
Each year there are new assaults to the air, water, health, and safety of front line communities near the refineries. Recently, the 2022 release of heavy metal-laden catalyst dust that coated the city of Martinez has led to warnings that residents should not eat any produce from their gardens. We lobby the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and other regional and state agencies for stricter standards to protect human health and the environment.
We work to raise awareness of the negative environmental impacts of biofuel production. Industrial-scale cultivation of food crops for biofuels is associated with loss of wildlands and rainforests, rising global food prices, food insecurity, and disruption of small scale farming.
There is no conclusive evidence that biofuels are less polluting or less carbon intensive than fossil fuels—indeed, they may be worse. Biofuel production delays structural changes needed for cleaner, more sustainable technologies.
You may have heard the term “Just Transition” associated with the phasing out of fossil fuels and implementation of clean energy. But it’s so much more.
The Just Transition is a social movement with environmental justice and human rights at the core. It recognizes that those who have suffered from the production of dirty energy and capitalism should be the first ones helped in the new economy. It seeks to recognize and rectify past injustices to front line brown and black communities, indigenous peoples who lost their land, and other marginalized communities. It recognizes the necessity of supporting and retraining energy workers for the new economy and the importance of union labor.