Air Quality

Published on May 31st, 2017 | by Susanna Schick

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RESULTS From Last Month’s Climate March Against Tesoro (+ Jane Fonda & Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Videos)

May 31st, 2017 by  

Who says protesting doesn’t work? While the rest of the country marched for the climate in general, Los Angeles county marched for a very specific climate problem. Tesoro has been planning to expand its refinery in Wilmington, California, to start refining tar sands oil shipped in from Canada.

Well, the citizens of Wilmington and surrounding cities have had enough. The cities surrounding these refineries and the Ports of LA & Long Beach are regularly exposed to all manner of toxic airborne chemicals. And they’re not gonna take it anymore. On May 25, the city of Carson sued… 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the march

Tesoro Escucha! Estamos en la Lucha!

On April 29, thousands of people, including Jane Fonda and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., marched in Wilmington to protest the refinery expansion. I was there with them, and it was powerful. I got to the front and stopped to shoot this video of the entire crowd marching by…

Worried my Zero FX wouldn’t make it to Wilmington, I considered riding my gas motorcycle. But I couldn’t. Not to this shindig. So I kept my speed below 80 mph, close to 60 mph most of the way. And I made the 26 mile trip with ~40% to spare. I could’ve made it home even more slowly with that much, but chose to plug in … because speed rules.

I rode around the block looking for a 110 outlet. I found one where some local teens were having a yard sale. I offered them $10 to let me plug in for the day, since I figured anyone having a yard sale would want to make a few bucks. Then I walked into the park to hear local politicians and lifelong champion of the underserved, Jane Fonda herself, speak to the crowd.

The Oil Industry’s Violent Death Throes

The oil industry is terrified as their main profit source is dwindling. By 2050, at least 25% of cars will be electric. By 2050, it will be cheaper to manufacture electric cars than ICE cars, leaving car dealers with a lot less service bay income and leaving oil companies in serious decline.

Once upon a time, an oil company pretended for a minute they were moving “Beyond Petroleum.” Then BP spilled 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and stopped pretending they cared about the planet.

BP now wants to partner with Tesoro to expand the refinery here in Wilmington. Already very polluted, thanks to the country’s largest shipping ports and the refineries, Wilmington’s residents don’t need more pollution. They need politicians who actually care more about the people who voted for them than the oil companies that funded their campaigns. I’m talking to you, Kevin De Leon & Joe Busciano.

The oil Tesoro & BP plan to refine in the new plant includes Bakken shale and Canadian tar sands oil. The interesting part is that on May 12, local paper Daily Breeze reported that the expansion was moving along as planned. But on May 25, NPR reported that the city of Carson sued AQMD for having approved the expansion. This is great news, because it means that at least some elected officials recognize that the oil industry would rather have dead customers than a lot fewer customers.

Here’s Tesoro’s side of the story, as they reported to Long Beach Post. And below are the speeches and more photos from the event. The message: KEEP FIGHTING! If you get tired, rest. Don’t quit. The oil industry may own most of our “elected” officials, but it doesn’t own us. As long as they know they can’t win our votes with that oil money, they’re less likely to take it.

The easiest, most effective way I’ve found to remain in constant contact with my federal representatives is to text RESIST to 50409. That sends a fax to my Congressional representatives of whatever I write in the text message. So easy and faxes get through to them more effectively than much else.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.





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About the Author

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.



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