Judge Rules in Favor of Tagami; Community Groups Vow to Fight On

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Judge Vince Chhabria ruled this morning against the City of Oakland in the lawsuit brought by coal developer Phil Tagami. Below you will find the press release NCIO and APEN (Asian Pacific Environmental Network) issued yesterday afternoon.

No Coal in Oakland will be meeting with attorneys, public health experts, and political leaders to develop the next stage of our ongoing commitment to assure that a coal terminal is never constructed in West Oakland. We are exploring every available option. As our strategy develops, watch for more information on our website and in future e-mails. We plan to keep the community fully engaged and informed.

It is important to understand that coal trains are not coming to Oakland in the near future: an OBOT coal terminal has not been built. In addition to a range of possible responses in the legal arena to Judge Chhabria’s decision, many permitting and regulatory steps stand between yesterday’s ruling and construction and operation of a coal terminal in Oakland. Each of these steps is an opportunity to stop Phil Tagami’s unconscionable plan to bring coal to the West Gateway.

In fact, $200,000,000 in financing necessary for the coal terminal’s construction has not yet been raised, and NCIO has already initiated a campaign to seek a pledge from the Bank of Montreal — the bank currently engaged to raise these funds — to refrain from any further effort to arrange financing for coal. Our open letter to Darryl White, CEO of the Bank of Montreal, lays out a strong case for the bank’s withdrawal from this toxic and financially risky project.

Today’s press release (lightly edited to clarify a minor point) follows. At the bottom of the press release you’ll find a link to Judge Chhabria’s 37-page ruling.


May 15, 2018

 Oakland Community Groups Vow to Fight On in Response to Judge’s Ruling Against City on Coal Terminal

OAKLAND, CA – Oakland community groups are calling today’s ruling by Judge Vince Chhabria that the City of Oakland violated its contract with the developer a “temporary setback” as they plan further actions to block construction of a coal terminal in West Oakland.

Ted Franklin, an organizer with the grassroots No Coal in Oakland campaign, commented:

“We disagree with the judge’s decision, but this is only a temporary setback.  We are part of a broad movement that opposes construction of a coal terminal in Oakland and we will fight as long as it takes.

“Bowie Resource Partners (Utah’s largest coal producer) and local developer Phil Tagami have teamed up on a foolish plan to ship Utah coal overseas.  People around the world are rapidly seeking to get off this fuel. A coal export terminal in Oakland would bring toxic dust to our most vulnerable neighborhoods and add to carbon pollution around the world.

“Bowie and Tagami still need to raise $200 million.  No Coal in Oakland will be campaigning to make sure that no investor makes the foolish error of lending them the money to follow through on their plan.”

Between April 2016 and July 2016, over one hundred environmental, community, labor, faith, and political groups joined forces and successfully campaigned for the Oakland City Council to adopt an ordinance banning coal storage and handling in Oakland. In December 2016, Tagami, with Bowie’s financial backing, filed suit to challenge the application of the ordinance to the proposed coal export facility.

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Center for Biological Diversity, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Communities for a Better Environment, and No Coal in Oakland filed an amicus brief highlighting the numerous environmental impacts the project would impose on Oakland residents.

In response to today’s court decision, Oakland Chinatown resident and Asian Pacific Environmental Network member leader, Pan Hai Bo said:

“While Phil Tagami celebrates his win today, he is working to endanger the lives of people across Oakland and pollute the air that he himself breathes — all to line his pockets. We are going to keep fighting, and we are going to make sure that we stop Tagami’s disastrous proposal from putting us all at risk.”

When he lived in China, Pan Hai Bo worked for the locomotive industry and saw the impacts of coal on his co-workers health.  Now, he is fighting to make sure that communities in Oakland can breathe clean air.

Addressing the City’s options, lora jo foo of No Coal in Oakland commented:

“It is important to be clear what the judge’s ruling actually says.  He did not overturn the coal ban ordinance. He overturned the resolution applying the ordinance to this particular terminal only because he found the evidence before the City Council in 2016 insufficient. He also indicated that the City could try again to bar use of the terminal for coal shipping and handling ‘so long as it complies with its legal obligations, including any legitimate contractual obligations to the project developers.’

“We expect the City to look closely at the possibility of doing the additional analysis the judge felt was needed to apply the ban to Bowie’s terminal.”


The full decision of the court appears here:  http://nocoalinoakland.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Oakland-Coal-Decision-5-15-2018.pdf