protest-crap.jpgProtestors on Sunday staged a mock clean up at a Chevron service station to increase awareness of the oil company’s alleged intentional dumping of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Rainforest Action Network coordinated protests at 10 Chevron stations in the city as part of a global action day for climate solutions, Change Chevron Campaign director Maria Ramos said. About 20 protestors converged at noon at the gas station located at 1298 Howard St.

Texaco, which is now owned by Chevron, across several decades intentionally dumped 18 billion gallons of oil sludge into the Amazon rainforest in northern Ecuador, Ramos said. The sludge contaminated rivers and streams used by indigenous people for drinking water and fishing, Ramos said.

About 30,000 indigenous people have been affected, Ramos said, adding that thousands of people in the area have reported contracting cancer. A $27 billion lawsuit against Chevron for the alleged dumping in Ecuador has been in litigation for 17 years, Ramos added.

“They’re doing everything they can to avoid taking responsibility for that,” Ramos said.
In California, Chevron opposes the Global Warming Solutions Act that established goals for the year 2020 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Ramos said.

Protestors hung large white banners from the station’s fuel price sign on the corner of Howard and Ninth streets that called for Chevron to clean up in Ecuador. Many in the group wore white protective suits and danced around while mopping the pavement near gas pumps and scrubbing Chevron signs with soapy sponges.

The protests are a call for Chevron to clean up their “toxic legacy,” Ramos said.

Amy Baker, who was putting gas in her car a few pumps away, commended the protestors for bringing attention to Chevron’s alleged actions.

“Everybody who drives a car, we all are part of this,” said Baker, of San Bruno. “I’m getting gas anyway. I need gas. I’m going to drive where I’m going to drive but I think the oil companies should take responsibility for when they screw up.”

“I’m glad these people are out here and I’m glad to have gas,” Baker said. “I would not otherwise have known about it so I’m glad that they’re doing this.”

Ramos said the campaign includes providing literature to Chevron station managers about the company’s actions. Rainforest Action Network has “been in touch” with Chevron at the corporate level, Ramos said.

The manager on duty Sunday at the Chevron station said she asked the protestors to leave and was told by a participant that the group “was almost done.” The manager declined to provide her name.

Andy Hamilton, Bay City News

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  • sfbird

    I agree with the protesters, but this raises the same issue from a few months ago when people were protesting Arco stations over the BP oil spill. Which oil company doesn’t do something worth boycotting and protesting them over? Okay, BP/Arco and Chevron are out, what’s left? Shell? They basically run the Nigerian military dictatorship and have murdered thousands of environmental protestors. Okay, how about a smaller company like Valero? They’re a bunch of Texas billionaires who are bankrolling Prop. 23 and trying to completely gut California’s environmental regulations.

    Every oil company has something worth protesting. But to what end? They clearly don’t care about public opinion, and retail sales at the pump represent a small percentage of their overall profit anyway.

    The only solution is to give up driving completely and just ride your bike. But then you can’t go grocery shopping and you get rained on for half the year and (worst of all) you risk becoming a sanctimonious jerk.

  • sfbird

    I agree with the protesters, but this raises the same issue from a few months ago when people were protesting Arco stations over the BP oil spill. Which oil company doesn’t do something worth boycotting and protesting them over? Okay, BP/Arco and Chevron are out, what’s left? Shell? They basically run the Nigerian military dictatorship and have murdered thousands of environmental protestors. Okay, how about a smaller company like Valero? They’re a bunch of Texas billionaires who are bankrolling Prop. 23 and trying to completely gut California’s environmental regulations.

    Every oil company has something worth protesting. But to what end? They clearly don’t care about public opinion, and retail sales at the pump represent a small percentage of their overall profit anyway.

    The only solution is to give up driving completely and just ride your bike. But then you can’t go grocery shopping and you get rained on for half the year and (worst of all) you risk becoming a sanctimonious jerk.

  • renegade

    Almost every product we have has blood on its hand, especially since the corporate pyramid is fairly small these days. As users of blood products, it seems consumers should have input. Isn’t that called “customer service?”

    SFBC, critical mass and cycling cronies seem to think the bicycle is the answer. There are too many reasons to list here why bicycling is not the only solution to limit oil use, especially the way SFBC has politicized bicycling, created animosity, and perhaps attributed to cycling’s dangers with fanaticism. Mass, in particular, is an old guard attitude developed 18 years ago. It seems Berkeley’s Bike Party has a better and more contemporary concept of “share the road” and bicycle advocacy.

    I think a more practical push to limit oil use while still utilizing private transportation is to advocate for hybrid or electric cars, high MPG vehicles such as Smart Cars, car share, etc. But SFBC puts vehicles all into the same “evil” category, whether or not said vehicles use much, if any, oil products. There are other methods to limit oil use, e.g., telecommuting, video conferencing, curbing recreational travel (including flying), etc. SFBC does not have a monopoly on solutions.

  • renegade

    Almost every product we have has blood on its hand, especially since the corporate pyramid is fairly small these days. As users of blood products, it seems consumers should have input. Isn’t that called “customer service?”

    SFBC, critical mass and cycling cronies seem to think the bicycle is the answer. There are too many reasons to list here why bicycling is not the only solution to limit oil use, especially the way SFBC has politicized bicycling, created animosity, and perhaps attributed to cycling’s dangers with fanaticism. Mass, in particular, is an old guard attitude developed 18 years ago. It seems Berkeley’s Bike Party has a better and more contemporary concept of “share the road” and bicycle advocacy.

    I think a more practical push to limit oil use while still utilizing private transportation is to advocate for hybrid or electric cars, high MPG vehicles such as Smart Cars, car share, etc. But SFBC puts vehicles all into the same “evil” category, whether or not said vehicles use much, if any, oil products. There are other methods to limit oil use, e.g., telecommuting, video conferencing, curbing recreational travel (including flying), etc. SFBC does not have a monopoly on solutions.