The Price of Oil

THE PRICE OF OIL is a fifteen minute documentary about the city of Richmond, CA who with an oil refinery in their backyard, are 

taking a leadership role in order to advance environmental justice in their community. The film gives us insight on the August 6, 2012 incident that sent 15,000 residents to the hospital. Known as an inspiration abroad, the community of Richmond has stopped a Chevron Refinery from expanding with the help of various grass root organizations such as Communities for a Better Environment. However as profit motives continue to influence local elections and city council representatives, the Richmond Progressive Alliance seeks to increase community involvement in order to help give a voice to Richmond residents in order to improve their health. 

 


Discussion Guide*

Themes

  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Racism
  • Community Organizing

Discussion Questions

  • Why do oil refineries target low income communities as placement sites?
  • What improvements can oil refineries make in order to ensure the health of nearby residents?
  • In the film, Jessica Tovar discusses the chronic and acute health conditions in Richmond. For example: headaches, nose bleeds, skin rashes, and cancer. Do you know what pollutants exist in your neighborhood?
  • Who should pay for retooling refineries? The industry? The Government? Or the taxpayers? Give some examples to support your opinion.
  • Do you believe "Big Businesses" recognize the cost of their operation? Support your answer with examples from the film or other outside knowledge.
  • In order to fight environmental justice more research and media coverage need to be conducted in order to increase awareness. Why do you think this is not being done? Why has there been so few solutions and a lack of enforcement of environmental laws?
  • Marlene Quint emphasizes how we are all interconnected like a web and therefore need to help each other. How can you and other communities get involved?

 

Partner Organizations

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE)

www.cbecal.org/

CBE is an environmental justice organization located in California. CBE's mission is to build the power of people living in communities of color and low income communities in California, to attain environmental health and justice through prevention and reduction of pollution; and to build healthy green and sustainable communities and environments. CBE provides residents living in urban communities in California with scientific and technical assistance, organizing skills, legal and leadership training.

 

The West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC)
www.westcountytoxicscoalition.org/

The West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC) is a nonprofit organization that helps empower low and middle class income residents of Contra Costa County, to gain power over their environmental justice rights and to promote good health. The WCTC program advocates social justice, empowerment of the Contra County residents and implementation of policies and programs. 

 

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) apen4ej.org/

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) mission, is to bring communities together to raise awareness for environmental justice for Asian Pacific Islanders and all people. APEN's vision is to ensure a clean and healthy environment for all people to live in. Through this vision, APEN develops an agenda for environmental, social and economic justice.

 

Facts 

  • Richmond is located in Contra Costa County and is one of the most industrialized counties in the Western United States (City of Richmond 2010). For many years, major industrial facilities like Chevron Richmond Refinery, one of the nation's largest oil refineries, have been an ongoing environmental justice concern throughout Richmond's history.
    City of Richmond. 2006 and Beyond: A Demographic Profile of the City of Richmond, California. Planning and Building Services Department; City of Richmond: 2010.  http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.asp?nid=241
  • North Richmond houses communities of color, mostly made up of Latinos, blacks and Asians. According to the 2010 U.S. Census figures, these ethnic populations make up 97 percent of the 3,717, compared with 82.9 percent in Richmond and 59.9 percent in California, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures.
    Cohen, Alison, et al. "Our Environment, Our Health A Community-Based Participatory Environmental Health Survey in Richmond, California." Health Education & Behavior 39.2 (2012): 198-209.
  • In the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, the median income of North Richmond residents is $36,875 and 21.8% of the residents live under the poverty line.
    Cohen, Alison, et al. "Our Environment, Our Health A Community-Based Participatory Environmental Health Survey in Richmond, California." Health Education & Behavior 39.2 (2012): 198-209.
  • Richmond residents live within close proximity to three chemical companies, eight Superfund sites, dozens of other toxic waste sites, five major oil refineries, highways, two rail yards, ports and marine terminals where tankers dock.
    Cohen, Alison, et al. "Our Environment, Our Health A Community-Based Participatory Environmental Health Survey in Richmond, California." Health Education & Behavior 39.2 (2012): 198-209.
  • Oil refineries in the city of Richmond are already major pollution sources, due to its release of fossil fuel energies to make gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. According to a research study reported by Communities for Better Environment, fossil fuel combustion emits many pollutants- such as regional smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gases (CBECAL)
    "The Increasing Burden of Oil Refineries and Fossil Fuels."Communities for A Better Environment. Communities for A Better Environment, n.d. Web. 11 Dec 2012.
  • According to reports in the West Toxic Coalition, between 1989 and 1995, there were over 1900 different incidents reported in the Contra Costa County. This county has been reported to be the eleventh worst area in the entire United States with regards to toxic accidents. Chevron has infamously been one of the major industrial businesses that have contributed to this result (UMICH).
    Scott, Sherman. "Environmental Justice Case Study: West County Toxics Coalition and the Chevron Refinery."UMICH. n. page. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. .
  • The Chevron fire incident occurred on Monday August 6, 2012 that began about 6:15 p.m. The damage began with a hydrocarbon leak at the refinery's No. 4 Crude Unit, which quickly grew into a major conflagration, spewing smoke across the East Bay (American Lung Association). As a result more than 1,700 people of Richmond residents ended up in emergency and seek shelters(American Lung Association).
    American Lung Association in California. American Lung Association. Richmond air quality. Oakland, CA: American Lung Association, 2012. Print.
  • According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a cohort study focuses on the health conditions of the residents of Richmond, California, show that long-term exposures to particulate matter were associated with increased risk of respiratory conditions, stroke, and heart disease; supporting the notion that environmental toxic exposures play a large role in the development of adverse health outcomes. 
    Lipsett, Michael J., et al. "Long-term exposure to air pollution and cardiorespiratory disease in the California Teachers Study Cohort." American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 184.7 (2011): 828-835.
  • According to the California Department of Public Health, statistics show that residents of all ages in Richmond are 1.5 times more likely than those in the rest of the county to go to hospital emergency departments for asthma attacks. African Americans are more prone to asthma emergency visits and hospital admissions about four times that of other racial groups in the county.
    United States. Contra Costa Health Services. Epidemiology, Planning & Evaluation Unit. Martinez, CA: Contra Costa. 2010
    According to the reports of the EPA inventory, a report that shows chemicals released per year, the Contra Costa County businesses released more than 3.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals into air, water and waste sites in 2010 (Environmental Health Science).
    Kay, Jane , and Cheryl Katz. Environmental Health Sciences. Pollution, Poverty, People of Color: The factory on the hill.. Environmental Health Sciences, 2012. Web.

 

Resources

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) mission is to bring communities together to raise awareness for environmental justice for Asian Pacific Islanders and all people
http://apen4ej.org/

California Environmental Justice Alliance Building Health Communities from the ground up
http://caleja.org/

Communities for A Better Environment (CBE) is an environmental justice organization located in California
http://www.cbecal.org

Contra Costa County Health Services 
http://cchealth.org/eh/

The West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC) is a nonprofit organization that helps empower low and middle class income residents of Contra Costa County, to gain power over their environmental justice rights 
http://www.westcountytoxicscoalition.org/

 

Meet the filmmakers

 

CLEMENTINE DIMACALI: I am a Filipino American born in the Philippines, but I was raised in the Bay Area. I have graduated from San Francisco State University with major in Health Education and a minor in Holistic Health Studies. Although my future career goals are within healthcare field, I had prior experience in dance, theatre and playwriting. I was part of the California Writers Project and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. I am grateful to use this opportunity to utilize health and social justice advocacy, and combine it with Cinema production. This documentary project has inspired me to work for environmental health and social justice advocacy. I have not had any experience in Cinema before, but I enjoyed making this documentary because it enabled me to grow as a person, and meet new people. I hope that people can walk away with this film knowing that we all can make social change within a community through collaboration and perseverance. I eventually plan on pursing my degree in Masters in Public Health.

 

KELSEY GATES grew up in Santa Monica, Ca. Although she is a Cinema Major, she enjoys taking a wide variety of classes from American Indian Studies, to Anthropology and Holistic Health. Finding many commonalities amongst them, she is most interested in studying the human condition. Making documentaries allows her to channel her passion for social justice into her filmmaking. She plans to continue making films that promote higher consciousness and change. "The truth is like a Lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." --St. Augustine

 

PETER SCOBEL  

 

MIRIAM SOSA: From the moment Miriam visited her sister in Berkeley, she fell in love with the city of San Francisco and the various non-profit organizations it was home to. Six years later she attended San Francisco State University and majored in Public Health.

Although Miriam was born and raised in Oxnard, a small town in Southern, CA known for cultivating strawberries, she quickly realized at an early age the social injustices that came along with being low income and having immigrants as parents. Since then Miriam has been determined to improve community health, whether that be through advocacy or front line work with communities and policy makers.

 

*The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute