Coal’s Dangers to Public Health and Safety

On September 21, 2015, the City Council held a hearing on the health and safety impacts of allowing some or all of Oakland’s planned bulk commodities terminal to be devoted to shipping Utah coal overseas. In addition to providing extensive oral testimony, No Coal in Oakland and Earthjustice each submitted extensive written comments and expert reports that far surpassed the “substantial evidence” requirement to support a City Council Ordinance banning coal exports from the new terminal.

No Coal in Oakland’s comment—on behalf of itself, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Bay Area, System Change Not Climate Change, and West Oakland Neighbors—includes analyses by Dr. Bart Ostro, former chief of the Air Pollution Epidemiology Section of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Paul English, Ph.D., a public health epidemiologist with over 25 years of experience in assessing public health impacts of environmental exposures. Earthjustice’s comment—submitted on behalf of Sierra Club, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Communities for a Better Environment, and San Francisco Baykeeper—was supported by extensive health and safety reports by veteran environmental analyst and consulting engineer Phyllis Fox, Ph.D., and University of California Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering Deb Niemeier, Ph.D.

No Coal in Oakland’s and Earthjustice’s comments and expert reports are an excellent place to start if you are looking for in-depth information regarding the enormous health and safety risks posed by several mile-long coal trains passing each day through East Bay communities, through West Oakland, and out to the proposed coal terminal near the Bay Bridge toll plaza.