Some Oakland Candidates Declare Opposition to Coal. Others do not.

Ann Harvey of No Coal in Oakland addresses a crowd of 2022 Global Climate Strike participants from the stage at Oakland’s City Hall, at an event organized by Youth vs. Apocalypse. September 23, 2022. Photo credit: Steve Masover.
The ongoing battle over a proposed coal terminal on the Oakland Waterfront Local developer Phil Tagami has been angling to build a coal terminal next to the Bay Bridge toll plaza for nearly ten years now, at the West Gateway site on the former Oakland Army Base. In 2016 the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the storage and handling of coal in the city, including at the proposed marine terminal on the city’s waterfront. Tagami sued the City in Federal court, then filed another suit in Alameda County Superior Court weeks after the City of Oakland announced ...

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Coal developer donations to Ignacio De La Fuente pollute 2022 Mayoral Race

Form 497 Contribution Reports (2), showing donations of $50,000 each made by OBOT (Phil Tagami) and Jonathan Brooks
Would-be Oakland coal terminal developers appear to be shopping for influence in the Mayor’s office, by making major contributions to an “Independent Expenditure Committee” to support the mayoral candidacy of Ignacio De La Fuente. According to the latest reports, de la Fuente hasn’t raised a whole lot of other funding for his 2022 mayoral bid. To help the struggling De La Fuente, two contributions of $50,000 each were made in early September to an “Independent Expenditure Committee” set up by longtime coal lobbyist Greg McConnell (described as “a front man ...

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Tagami breaks off settlement talks, blames city

Hall of Justice, Hayward, CA. By Mercurywoodrose - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16834695
News is breaking that would-be coal-terminal developer Phil Tagami has walked away from negotiations with the City of Oakland. The developer has filed a motion with Judge Delbert C. Gee to resume litigation in California state court. The case, OBOT & OGRE vs. City of Oakland, was paused while the parties met to negotiate a settlement. It is currently set for trial in April 2023. According to a city staffer who is part of the team negotiating with Tagami, the city has been negotiating in good faith, the parties have exchanged numerous drafts of a settlement agreeme...

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Settlement framework to scuttle Oakland coal threat announced

Young people on steps of City Hall, No Coal rally July 21, 2015
A “settlement framework” has been announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker to resolve ongoing lawsuits filed by and against OBOT leaseholder Phil Tagami and allied parties under terms that are expected to meet No Coal in Oakland's longstanding, core demand: to keep coal and pet coke out of Oakland.  This could be the end of Oakland’s long battle to keep developers from building a coal export terminal on the West Oakland waterfront. The framework, agreed to by the City of Oakland and West Gateway leaseholders who are parties to two lawsuits filed in ...

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Richmond coal exports to end by 2026; EJ advocates celebrate agreement

Aerial view of the Richmond-Level coal terminal. Image credit: SF Baykeeper.
The days of coal passing through the port of Richmond, California, are numbered thanks to a settlement of federal and state lawsuits. The settlement gives the Levin-Richmond Terminal until Dec. 31, 2026, to end storage and handling of coal and pet coke. Richmond's City Council voted in 2020 to phase out these toxic commodities, allowing Levin-Richmond three years to comply. Fossil fuel interests responded by filing five lawsuits, claiming Richmond’s coal ban violated the U.S Constitution and other laws. In settling, the fossil fuel plaintiffs dropped their fight ...

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Legislation introduced to stop shadowy bid to ship coal out of Humboldt Bay

Graphic created by the office of California State Senator Mike McGuire. Text reads: "Hell NO to Coal! Stop the Toxic Train"
In early September, the Lost Coast Outpost posted an article titled "Aiming to Ship Coal Out of Humboldt Bay, Shadowy Corporation Makes Bid to Take Over NCRA Line," reporting that "Unidentified coal companies appear to be behind a new backdoor effort to acquire the North Coast Railroad Authority’s right-of-way between Eureka and Willits and rehabilitate the defunct railroad, all so they can export coal to Asian markets via the Port of Humboldt Bay." This morning, California State Senator Mike McGuire posted a press release describing a bill, SB 307, to put a nail in ...

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AD 18 Candidates hold starkly different views on preventing a West Oakland Coal Terminal

Screenshot of California Secretary of State website for AD 18 Special Election, August 2021: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/2021-ad18
On August 31, voters in Assembly District 18 (most of Oakland, including West Oakland, as well as Alameda and San Leandro) will decide who represents them in Sacramento now that Rob Bonta has been appointed state Attorney General. The two candidates, Janani Ramachandran and Mia Bonta, appeared on KQED’s August 16 Forum. Longtime NCIO campaign member lora jo foo called in to ask their positions on the Oakland coal terminal controversy. The following is a transcript of her question and the candidate’s responses:   lora jo foo: I’m lora jo foo, and I’m a ...

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Utah illegally misdirected $109,000,000 in public funds to fossil fuel projects

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski speaking at a press conference outside the Utah State Capitol, August 17, 2021. Photo from live video posted by HEAL Utah.
The Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition, of which No Coal in Oakland is a member, has released a report showing that a government board charged with administering mineral lease royalty payments from the federal government has funneled more than $109 million in public money to projects that promote or expand fossil fuel extraction, in violation of the federal Mineral Leasing Act. The report also documents that basic infrastructure projects in rural communities are going unfunded while Utah leaders use federal lease revenues and royalties to prop up the fossil fuel industry, ...

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KPIX: developer coal threat as bid to extort payment from City of Oakland

KPIX story of 2021-07-08 with chyron "Concessions or Coal?"
Behind the chyron "Concessions or Coal?" KPIX (the local CBS affiliate) broadcast a story headlined "Despite a Coal Ban in Oakland, Developer Leverages Proposed Facility Against City" on the July 8, 2021 evening news. Margaret Rossoff and Ann Harvey of No Coal in Oakland, and Isha Tobis Clarke of Youth vs Apocalypse were interviewed for the story, as well as Greg McConnell, now acting (as the story describes) as "front man for Vikas Tandon, a financier who has taken over plans for a coal terminal next to the Port of Oakland." In the segment, McConnell floats Tandon's ...

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New terminal developer threatens to stick with coal unless Oakland pays him plenty

"Grift" graffitied on a merchant's roll-down door. Image credit: jaqian (Flickr) CC By 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaqian/24000174/.
Vikas Tandon wants the City to fork over piles of money, to lower his rent, to extend the West Gateway lease, to provide construction financing, and/or to hand over additional property.  The hedge fund operator -- who late last year acquired a contested sublease on the Oakland waterfront property where developers have been angling to build a coal terminal -- met via Zoom in early May with anti-coal activists and attorneys from a half-dozen local and national organizations, and told participants that in return for significant concessions from the City he’ll develop the ...

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