Group calls on Chevron to refrain from political spending and address environmental and human rights violations
True Cost of Chevron Network
29 May 2013 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Hinton at +1.703.798.3109
San Ramon, CA – Chevron shareholders and a coalition of activist groups held a protest outside Chevron Corporation's annual shareholder meeting today to call on the company to refrain from political spending, which they claim has allowed the company to avoid taking responsibility for its environmental violations, its contribution to the growing threat of climate change, and its human rights abuses in South America.
Green Century Capital Management filed a resolution asking the company to refrain from political spending in light of the company's unprecedented $2.5 million contribution to the conservative super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, which received extensive media coverage during the 2012 election.
"It is concerning that Chevron's board of directors insists on spending unprecedented and increasing amounts in the election process," said Lucia von Reusner, shareholder advocate for Green Century. "Chevron is rolling the dice with its spending and the losers are our democracy and shareholders."
Helen Grieco, a California-based organizer for Common Cause added, "Chevron is polluting our democracy and our environment. We have to demand disclosure and limits to campaign expenditures post-Citizens United."
Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of Saint of Francis of Philadelphia presented a resolution calling for greater transparency in Chevron's hydraulic fracturing operations. The resolution, which asks Chevron to disclose community complaints, track and manage radioactive materials, and provide quantitative measurements for the chemicals it uses in its operations, received a preliminary vote of thirty-one percent.
Many activists – not including two were denied entrance – entered the shareholder meeting to make their concerns known to Chevron executives. Amazon Watch delivered hundreds of pink slips calling on CEO John Watson to be fired.
"My parents both died from cancer due to Chevron's contamination," said Servio Curipoma, a cacao farmer who traveled for the second time from the polluted town of San Carlos in Ecuador's northeast Amazon rainforest region. "I am still fighting for justice so that no one else will have to suffer the pain they did, and the loss I have. Chevron has lied to its shareholders, to the world, to me. I'm here on behalf of all of us to say that CEO Watson should be fired."
Demonstrators outside the meeting also raised concerns about Chevron's negligence and environmental record within the U.S. and abroad and showed support for a transition to renewable energy sources.
The city of Richmond is considering whether to sue Chevron for its 2012 refinery fire, which the Chemical Safety Board found to have been caused by negligence.
"The August 6, 2012, refinery fire was a clear cut example of Chevron's willful neglect," said Gayle McLaughlin, mayor of the city of Richmond, Calif. "We will not let up on making demands of them, including significant compensation from the fire for damages imposed on our community. We join with communities everywhere demanding full accountability from this massive polluter that operates in our city."
Close to sixty activists on bicycles rode roughly six miles from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART to Chevron's headquarters to show consumer support for a transition to renewable energy and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Sven Eberlein, a 350 Bay Area activist who organized the event, called "Bike the Math," said, "When asked what ordinary people in the Bay Area could do to slow the rapid burning of fossil fuels, [350.org founder] Bill McKibben suggested that we tell Chevron's shareholders about this dangerous situation." He added, "I felt like I needed to do something besides signing petitions, and a bunch of people riding their bikes to protest a big oil profiteer would make a powerful statement that we the consumers are eager to reduce our own carbon footprints as well."
Pricilla Rich, founder of 350 Contra Costa and the Transition Express campaign, added, "There is every good reason for Chevron's CEO to join forces with the CEO of ConocoPhillips, asking Congress for a fair, industry-blind carbon tax, to start realistically dealing with our accelerating climate crisis as we pass the 400 parts per million mark of atmospheric carbon."
"Over 84,000 residents are at risk from Chevron's Manila depot and an aging 117 km pipeline, and are plagued by its toxic emissions, spills, leakages, fires and explosions," Aileen Sazura, board member of Filipino/American Coalition For Environmental Solidarity (FACES) said. "Chevron has stalled removal of its depot, ignoring several orders from the Supreme Court and the voices of residents."
"Chevron makes $26 billion annually in profits, while many Richmond residents are living with incomes below the state poverty level," added Sandy Saeteurn, community organizer with Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN). "As Chevron makes its billions, we continue to bear the burden of toxic pollution harming our health."