11 East Bay Mayors Condemn Oakland Coal Plan

  • Coal train

Mayors of 11 East Bay cities have sent a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland City Council urging them to prohibit shipment of coal from a marine terminal under development at the former Oakland Army Base.

Although the City approved a contract for development of the site several years ago, the mayors said in their letter that the environmental review of the project in 2012 did not consider coal.  The developer, Phil Tagami, made public statements that coal would be no part of the project.  A year ago, Tagami’s secret negotiations with coal interests in Utah became public knowledge sparking fierce opposition in Oakland.

“If you don’t stop what would be the largest coal terminal on the West Coast of the U.S. the health and safety impacts would be severe, not just for Oakland but also for our communities and for the world,” the mayors said in the letter to Oakland city officials.

The mayors fear coal headed to the Oakland terminal will be shipped by rail through many East Bay cities affecting the well-being of people who live and work anywhere near the rail corridor as well as everyone in the world through increased greenhouse gas emissions when the coal is burned.

“Neighborhoods near the port, already suffering the health burdens of toxic pollution from other port activities, would be exposed to coal dust and increased emissions from increased coal train traffic,” the mayors said.  “Our communities would be impacted.”

“A main rail line likely to be used by coal shipments passes through our cities,” they explained.  “Our communities would be exposed not only to coal dust and increased diesel emissions but also to increased risk of collisions and derailments from coal trains.”

The mayors concluded, “We sincerely urge you — for the sake of all of us and the planet — to take action to reject the coal plan and protect the health and safety of our communities.”

These eleven mayors signed the letter:

  • Peter Maass of Albany
  • Tom Bates of Berkeley
  • David Haubert of Dublin
  • Greg Lyman of El Cerrito
  • Dianne Martinez of Emeryville
  • Bill Harrison of Fremont
  • Barbara Halliday of Hayward
  • John Marchand of Livermore
  • Tom Butt of Richmond
  • Pauline Cutter of San Leandro
  • Carol Dutra-Vernaci of Union City