Utah money laundering scheme aims to bail out bankrupt Oakland coal operators

Article headline, "Utah coal counties pledge $20M in state money to help get Oakland port back on track," Salt Lake Tribune, 2020-07-05
“Utah coal counties pledge $20M in state money to help get Oakland port back on track,” an article in the Salt Lake Tribune published on Sunday July 5, 2020, exposes a money laundering scheme that has been years in the making. A No Coal in Oakland article of March 2016 describes the Utah state government's complicity in a shell game aimed at sidestepping initial legal challenges to attempts to squander public funding originally allocated to mitigate the effects of mining on local (Utah) communities. The scheme, driven by elected leaders in four Utah counties in ...

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Oakland sues would-be coal developers

The undeveloped West Gateway site, south and west of the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, circa 2020. Image attribution: Google Maps (imagery © 2020 CNES/Airbus, Maxar Technologies, US Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency).
The City of Oakland has now sued the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) and California Capital Investment Group (CCIG) for breach of contracts to construct the bulk terminal at the West Gateway. This is the third lawsuit filed in the ongoing conflict between OBOT/CCIG and the City of Oakland, and the first filed by the City. The City filed its complaint in state court on May 27, 2020, the day after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the federal trial court ruling that overturned application of the city’s ban on coal to OBOT. In its complaint, the ...

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Ninth Circuit rules against Oakland, but the fight is far from finished

Northern California Climate Mobilization rally at Oakland City Hall, November 2015
In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week against the City of Oakland in a breach of contract case brought by developers who claim they have a vested right to build a coal export terminal in West Oakland. The Oakland City Council passed a ban on storage and handling of coal in June 2016 in response to extensive evidence showing that coal poses substantial health and safety risks to workers and residents. The two-judge majority held that the developers’ contractual rights trumped the City of Oakland’s right to protect its residents from ...

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Japan’s Kiko Network: a new ally in opposition to an Oakland coal terminal

Kiko Network action against JERA's planned coal-fired facilities in Yokosuka, Japan
No Coal in Oakland has recently begun working with Japan’s Kiko Network, following discovery earlier this year that Insight Terminal Solutions (ITS) was pursuing a commitment from Japan’s largest energy company, JERA, to purchase 4 million tons of Utah coal per year. ITS, as we learned from the company’s bankruptcy court filings, is also pursuing financing from a Japanese bank, SMBC, for construction of a coal terminal in Oakland through which coal would be shipped to Japan. The Kiko Network introduced NCIO to its community last month, in an article published in ...

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NCIO challenges Japanese Bank: don’t fund Oakland coal terminal

Image of press release dated 16 April 2020, challenging SMBC to drop Oakland coal terminal financing
In the last couple of days, two major Japanese banks have announced that they are limiting their investment in coal. This is of particular significance for No Coal in Oakland, as one of these banks, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), has been in discussion about providing financing for the construction of the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) as a coal terminal to ship four million tons of Utah coal to the Japanese energy company JERA. Japan has been increasing its consumption of coal as it has retired nuclear power plants after the Fukushima disaster. ...

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Shareholder resolution calls for Bank of Montreal to stop financing fossil fuels

Picket at PRI Conference, 2018-09-12. Photo credit: Steve Nadel.
On Tuesday, March 31, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) shareholder meeting will include a shareholder resolution calling for the bank to make a commitment to exclude or phase out financing for fossil fuels--including coal--in view of the “incongruities” between such financing and BMO’s public positions supporting sustainability. The resolution comes from John Harrington of Harrington Investments (HII), a socially responsible financial manager and NCIO supporter. For several years, NCIO waged a campaign to persuade the bank to drop its efforts to attract investment in an ...

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How Phil Tagami Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Coal

Phil Tagami assured City officials and the public in Decenber 2013 that he had no interest in coal; by April 2014, he was in bed with the coal industry where he has remained ever since. Did the prospect of financial ruin change his mind?

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Victory for No Coal in Richmond: How It Happened

Levin Terminal - Richmond, CA. Photo credit: Lance Yamamoto
The scrappy industrial city of Richmond took a bold step toward a fossil fuel-free future on Tuesday night when its city council passed an historic land use ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in a three-year phaseout. This means that Richmond will no longer be the source of one-fourth of West Coast coal exports to Asian markets, and its children will be able to breathe a little easier.  The working class city of Richmond, home to the Chevron refinery and a host of other entrenched polluters, has begun at long last to transition ...

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Would-be Oakland Coal Baron’s Bankruptcy Exposes Filthy Scheming

Chaplin Hill Mine Tipple, Scott's Run, West Virginia (Federal Works Agency, WPA, National Archives at College Park)
Insight Terminal Solutions (ITS) is the new corporate incarnation of the same five year old plot to ship millions of tons of toxic coal through Oakland's waterfront. But  they've filed for bankruptcy. And in bankruptcy court, ITS is fighting off a hostile takeover by a hedge fund manager who wants to operate the coal terminal.  It's not the sort of bankruptcy that shutters a business … alas. Instead, it's the kind that gives a bankrupt business a second chance by supervising the reorganization of its finances. But to get that second chance, the business is required ...

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NCIO responds to Tagami profile in EB Express

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) pictogram for substances hazardous to human health
In December 2019, the East Bay Express ran a cover-feature profile of would be coal-developer Phil Tagami ("Phil Tagami is Not Backing Down," East Bay Express, December 10, 2019). Over the signature of of No Coal in Oakland's coordinating committee member Ann Harvey, who identified her affiliation with our ongoing campaign, NCIO responded a few days after the article ran (the letter was drafted collaboratively by several members of NCIO's coordinating committee). Though a number of letters-to-the-editor were published by the paper in response to the profile, the EB ...

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