Hedge Fund Ousts Coal Exec in Bid to Build Oakland Export Terminal

Gleeful cartoon cash register figure superimposed on image of the West Gateway site in Oakland, CA
On Election Day -- November 3, 2020 -- Los Angeles hedge fund manager Vikas Tandon took over the company formed to build a coal export terminal in West Oakland. Judge Joan Lloyd of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Louisville, Kentucky anointed Tandon the new CEO of Insight Terminal Solutions (ITS). Tandon’s company, Autumn Wind Lending LLC, is now the sole owner of ITS, though whether ITS’s mission to ship coal through Oakland will change under new ownership remains unknown. For seven years, ITS’s ousted CEO, coal industry veteran John J. Siegel, Jr., dreamed ...

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No Coal in Oakland and the 2020 City Election

Oakland City Hall
In 2016 the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the storage and handling of coal at a proposed marine terminal on the city’s waterfront. The ban was reversed in a federal court decision, but construction of the terminal has not begun and the City still has multiple options for preventing its use for coal. No Coal in Oakland (NCIO) wants to preserve the City Council’s commitment to a coal-free Oakland, an issue of environmental justice that aims to both reduce our city’s contribution to climate chaos and protect residents of West Oakland already disproport...

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Utah Legislature: No Special Session Bailout for Bankrupt Oakland Coal Project

Image credit: "Money Laundering", in Public Domain thanks to TaxRebate.org.uk via Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5857891936)
The Utah legislature completed its special session Thursday without allocating $20 million to bail would-be coal terminal operator Insight Terminal Solutions (“Insight”) out of bankruptcy, thanks to the work of a coalition of public interest and environmental activists formed less than two months ago after NCIO discovered and informed Utah allies that four counties hosting Wolverine Fuels' coal mines planned to apply for state funds to pass on to Insight to keep it in CEO John Siegel's hands. See Utah coal counties pledge $20 million in state money to help get Oakland ...

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WOEIP, Youth vs Apocalypse, and NCIO on KPFA’s “Full Circle”

Screenshot of the archive page for KPFA's "Full Circle" broadcast of 2020-08-14
Three Oakland activists shared their experiences working for environmental justice, including on the campaign to keep coal out of our city, on KPFA on August 14, 2020. “Full Circle” -- hosted by the First Voice Apprenticeship program at KPFA -- broadcast an interview conducted by Darlene Pagano with representatives of three local organizations: West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Youth vs. Apocalypse, and No Coal in Oakland. Ms. Margaret Gordon, Isha Tobias Clarke, and Michael Kaufman represented the three organizations, respectively (Ms. Margaret is both a ...

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Will Throwing John Siegel a $20 Million Lifeline Buy Utah a California Coal Terminal?

Utah public interest groups are organizing to stop the Utah Legislature from bailing out the bankrupt Oakland coal terminal developer
Today, a coalition of Utah environmental and public interest organizations called on the Utah Legislature to turn down an urgent bailout request from the bankrupt developer of the embattled coal export terminal project in Oakland, Calif.

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A change of platform for NCIO Updates

No Coal in Oakland sends e-mail updates to let our community know about important developments in our campaign, and to engage Oaklanders and allies in helping to keep our waterfront free from toxic coal. For many years we have been using Mailchimp to send NCIO Updates. As of mid-year 2020, however, we’re changing platforms. Going forward, we’ll be using Action Network -- an organizing platform widely used since 2012 by progressive groups and campaigns, from the Black Friday Walmart Strikes to Daily Kos to Diablo Rising Tide -- both to maintain our e-mail list and ...

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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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