In 2014, Chevron spent more than $3m in campaign donations to city council candidates opposing the RPA. “And they bought up every billboard in town,” McLaughlin said. The RPA won a supermajority on the city council.

“All of the things I’m working on come from my constituents – it’s not me. It needs to come from the bottom,” said Eduardo Martinez, an RPA candidate and former Richmond elementary school teacher who was elected to the city council in 2014.

This month, the council will vote on a proposal by Martinez that would phase out the storage and handling of coal and pet coke and prohibit the expansion of new facilities.

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