(Corrects name of city in dateline)
By Ronnie Cohen
RICHMOND, Calif. Aug 4 Police arrested more
than 200 demonstrators for trespassing at Chevron Corp
in the California city of Richmond on Saturday to mark the
one-year anniversary of a massive refinery fire and to protest a
proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The arrests came as a throng of sunflower-carrying picketers
chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go," as
people of all ages walked onto Chevron's property to draw
attention to a growing movement against fossil fuel.
Police Captain Mark Gagan said the arrests, all peaceful,
included three people in wheelchairs and demonstrators as young
as 18 years old. Media reports said most of those arrested were
cited and released.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben, who is leading a call for
using only renewable energy, was one of the first to be
handcuffed. He had earlier joined Richmond Mayor Gayle
McLaughlin in a rally, one in a series across the nation over
the environmental consequences of continuing to burn oil and to
protest TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL
The protest came a day after the city of Richmond filed suit
against Chevron over a pipeline rupture and fire that sent a
cloud of smoke over the northern California city and neighboring
Bay Area communities last August.
The lawsuit seeks damages for the city and its residents and
alleges the company ignored repeated warnings, delayed repairs
and could have avoided the fire. It followed a dozen similar
incidents at Chevron over two decades, the suit says.
"Our community is at risk every day for another fire and
explosion," the mayor told the crowd. She said the state
Division of Occupational Safety and Health had issued 11
citations of willful neglect to Chevron's Richmond refinery.
A representative for Chevron did not immediately return a
call or email seeking comment on the protest and lawsuit on
At least 15,000 people went to hospitals with respiratory
complaints in the hours and days after the fire.
The Keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day
of crude from Canada's oil sands and the Bakken shale in North
Dakota and Montana to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
President Barack Obama's administration is expected to
decide whether to approve the pipeline by early 2014.
(Reporting by Ronnie Cohen; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and