oil refinery

Refinery healing walks connect communities

Jul 16, 2015
Lezak Shallat

This summer, many East Bay residents are drawing attention to the dangers of living next door to the oil industry. Borrowing from a Native American tradition of healing walks, they are walking to all five refineries along the northeastern shores of the San Francisco Bay.

Standing on the bridge over the Carquinez Straits connecting the San Pablo and Suisun Bays, two Native American women -- Penny Opal Plant and Alison Ehara-Brown -- sing a song of healing.

One year ago, an explosion at the Chevron refinery in Richmond sent a plume of black smoke into the air and more than 15,000 people to local hospitals. Now, as the city still tries to assess the total damages from the incident, new concerns have erupted that the refinery and others in the Bay Area may start processing significant amounts of tar sands oil.