More than forty community members contribute to December 6th NCIO meeting

  • Westside Missionary Baptist Church, Oakland, California

Over forty people gathered for a lively discussion of next steps in the campaign to make sure that coal is never shipped out of Oakland, on the evening of December 6 at the West Side Missionary Baptist Church.

lora jo foo and Ted Franklin reported on the status of both cases currently in progress: the appeal of the federal judge’s decision that reversed the ban, and the suit filed by coal developer Phil Tagami on Tuesday in the state court. The appeal will take years to resolve. The timeline for the state case is less clear at this point. NCIO is closely watching both cases and supporting the city in its defense against the industry-funded legal actions, while pursuing our other campaigns.

Carolyn Norr reported on the plans of Youth vs. the Apocalypse, who have staged several confrontations with Tagami. They are now proposing restorative justice as an alternative to litigation, pointing out that the interests of youth have not been met in the legal processes. They would like to see Tagami sit down with city leadership and other stakeholders to consider possible resolutions. The new push for a Green New Deal can help frame this effort.

NCIO has pursued a campaign against the Bank of Montreal (BMO), which is behind attempts to finance the terminal. At the December 6 meeting, new energy was infused into this campaign by more than a dozen community members eager to work on it. A meeting will be held in early January to discuss next steps, including asking national allies to help collect signatures on the Open Letter to BMO and working with Canadian environmental organizations to hold a demonstration at the bank’s Montreal offices.

Ms. Margaret Gordon outlined the AB 617 process. The AB 617 process, which has established the Community Air Protection Program, looks at exposure, proximity, land use, and enforcement to reduce exposure in communities most impacted by air pollution. Because of years of work by the organization she co-directs, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), West Oakland is ready to plan emissions reductions, while many other communities are still at an earlier stage of the process, documenting the extent and level of pollution that requires mitigation. West Oakland has established a steering committee of 30 people, including youth representatives, that is developing robust plans to protect the community. One question that the steering committee needs to address is how the West Gateway parcel fits into this process. If you are interested in participating in the AB 617 process, contact Ms. Margaret at 510-257-5647 or Margaret.woeip[at]

The City of Oakland’s recent termination of Tagami’s lease invites consideration of alternatives to shipping coal, and possibly alternatives to a commodities terminal. Though NCIO does not expect to play a leading role in the planning for the West Gateway, we wanted to spend some time on positive visions as we continue our fight against coal. We therefore spent some time envisioning other uses for the property. Several people spoke to the value of the waterfront site for shipping and the advantages of efficient logistics for rail and ship transportation, a goal of the Army Base development from the outset. Oakland could play a role in exporting food to Asia, and storage facilities for frozen chickens are already under construction. Other ideas included a solar farm, a site for distribution of construction materials or prefab housing, a research and development facility with educational programs, and a cannabis-related facility. The likely rise of sea level needs to be taken into account in any construction.

We then considered possible new tactics and campaigns to pressure Tagami, block BMO, and enlist political allies. We’ll communicate more details as these directions evolve. If you are interested in a particular project, email to connect with our ongoing work.