Sea level rise could pose a risk to toxic sites in the Bay Area
An environmental justice project called “Toxic Tides” has recently launched a series of maps that show the risk of flooding at toxic waste facilities due to climate change.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, this effort is a collaboration between researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and several environmental justice organizations, such as the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
One of the three cities the project is doing a case study on is Richmond, home to the Chevron oil refinery and more than 300 toxic facilities such as chemical plants and factories. The project estimates that by 2100, about 20 facilities will be at risk for at least one annual flood event.
The Toxic Tides project notes how industrial pollution sites are disproportionately located near underserved communities of color. Richmond — which has a significant Laotian immigrant population — has the worst pollution burden in California, and its residents experience higher rates of asthma and disease.
There have been some efforts to mitigate sea level rise in California. In September, the governor signed Senate Bill 1 to allocate $100 million annually to help local governments address sea level rise.