No Coal Coalition Receives Eco-Warrior of the Year Award

  • Oakland Rising Townie Award logo

At a party that drew many to downtown Oakland last night, Oakland Rising presented Townie Award for Eco-Warrior of the Year to the No Coal in Oakland coalition.  On hand to accept the award were Katy Polony of Sunflower Alliance and Brittany King of the Sierra Club.  Oakland Rising is a five-year old organization that aims to build and wield mass-based progressive political power, align and coordinate social justice forces, and develop new leaders in Oakland.

Oakland Rising also named the Committee to Protect Oakland Renters as Townie of the Year, Nicole Lee as Youth Advocate of the Year, Black Youth Project 100 as Townie Volunteers of the Year, East Bay Express and Biz of the Year, and Planning Commissioner Jahmese Myres as Government Official of the Year.

Oakland Rising described No Coal in Oakland in the awards event program as follows:

“The development of the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal at the Oakland Army Base redevelopment project have been pursuing a long-term lease with a Utah based coal company — but the communities in West Oakland and along the 880 corridor already suffer from poor air quality and cannot bear the burden of another pollutant.  Dust coming from rail cars and piles of coal is linked to cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

“No Coal in Oakland is a broad and diverse coalition working to keep coal out of Oakland. There core group includes activists from environmental justice groups (Sunflower Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, 350 East Bay, System Change No Climate Change), and residents of Oakland.

“Staff from the Sierra Club, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Baykeeper, Earthjustice, and CBE have supported this campaign for over three years.

“The coalition works closely with allies in the faith community (Rev. Ken Chambers, California Interfaith Power and Light and many clergy they organized) and with labor organizers from SEIU 1021, California Nurses Association, International Longshore Workers Union and others.

“Together their organizing efforts pushed the City Council to hold a hearing on the health and safety impacts of coal in September 2015.   They mobilized experts and community members to attend and assisted an independent panel of nationally respected public health experts in producing a report assessing the risks of coal transport through Oakland to rebut the developer’s lies of no impact.

“As this program went to press, the City Council was slated to vote on coal on June 27.  We hope the City Council will prohibit coal and other dangerous fossil fuels exports before they leave on recess this summer.”