December 12, 2017 Read More →

California AG Sides With Oakland in Refusal to Allow Kentucky-Utah Coal-Export Scheme to Proceed

East Bay Times:

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a brief in support of the city’s ban on the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in Oakland.

The city ordinance was passed in July 2016, effectively killing plans to transport the ore through a lpanned terminal near the Port of Oakland, on a portion of the former Oakland Army Base land. The city based its findings on research that found such a facility would pose a serious health risk to both workers at the terminal and West Oakland residents, who already suffer from high levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses from emissions from the port and truck and auto traffic on nearby freeways.

This ban also reflected the extent to which these impacts would negatively affect communities of color residing in West Oakland near the Bulk Oversized Terminal, according to Becerra’s office.

Phil Tagami, the developer of the new Terminal – is challenging the ordinance. Tagami plans to import coal by rail from Utah to the new terminal, where it would be loaded onto overseas ships.

In his amicus brief filed Friday, Beccera argues that Oakland properly invoked its local police powers to protect health and wellness of residents; West Oakland residents are already overburdened by pollution and coal storage would increase this; Oakland’s ordinance was not preempted by any federal law; and the ordinance does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

If the ordinance is reversed, it could mean that millions of tons of coal could be moved from Utah to Oakland annually by train, with that coal dust potentially affecting nearby neighborhoods, Becerra said.

More: Attorney General sides with Oakland in coal ban

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