The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Chevron’s Company Newspaper

Apr 8, 2024

The Richmond Standard, the only newspaper that is supposed to cover local news in Richmond, California, is nothing but a public relations outlet for its owner, Chevron. Chevron uses its so-called newspaper to cover up the misdeeds of its refinery in Richmond.

This working-class town is a Chevron company town. Chevron is the city’s largest employer. Chevron’s network of pipes and low-lying cooling ponds cover the city. The Richmond public high school’s mascot is the Oilers.

In 2012, an explosion at the Chevron refinery injured 19 workers. The air pollution caused by this explosion forced 15,000 Bay Area residents to go to the hospital for respiratory complications. To stifle negative publicity, Chevron set up its own so-called newspaper in 2014, The Richmond Standard.

Chevron is the largest polluter in the area. Its refinery is prone to frequent flares shooting upward from its four smokestacks. It pollutes Richmond’s air with smoke and poisonous sulfurous gases.

But The Richmond Standard remains silent about the reasons for these flares and pollution. In 2021, when a Chevron refinery pipeline ruptured, dumping nearly 800 gallons of diesel fuel into San Francisco Bay, this newspaper did not report it.

In the past, two news organizations, the (Richmond) Independent and the San Francisco Chronicle, reported about Richmond. But decades ago, The Independent was shuttered, and due to big cutbacks, the San Francisco Chronicle stopped covering the city.

Now, because The Richmond Standard is the company news organization and not reliable, Richmond residents rely on each other to get the real news they desperately need. They learn, for example, about the Chevron refinery’s misdeeds by questioning retired refinery workers.

Clearly, workers must stand together to learn, act, and survive against a giant company like Chevron’s misinformation.