SF Baykeeper Honors No Coal in Oakland With Blue Rivet Award
Photo (left to right): Sejal Choksi-Chugh, executive director of Baykeeper; Mike Herz, founder of Baykeeper and honoree; and Ray Kidd, Ms. Margaret Gordon, Aaron Reaven, and Margaret Rossoff of No Coal in Oakland. Credit: Drew Bird (www.drewbirdphoto.com).
San Francisco Baykeeper presented No Coal in Oakland with a Blue Rivet Award at their annual dinner on March 3. These awards recognize Bay Area businesses, community groups, and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the health of San Francisco Bay. As the rivets of the Golden Gate Bridge hold the structure together, activists hold the Bay together.
This year the award for a business partner went to 10Fold Communications for its support of the Baykeeper organization. The award for a community activist partner was given to NCIO. For the Baykeeper friend/volunteer, the award recognized Mike Herz, who founded the organization thirty years ago and continues to support it.
About 200 people attended, enthusiastic supporters of the Bay and of Baykeeper. They vigorously applauded for NCIO. The Vice Chair of the Baykeeper Board, Diane Livia, highlighted the collaboration of our groups: “Baykeeper’s lawyers and scientists filed a lawsuit to stop the coal export project, and provided expert testimony to Oakland leaders about the harmful impacts of coal on the Bay. And we weren’t alone. The passionate activists at No Coal in Oakland mobilized hundreds of Bay Area residents to advocate against coal exports at Oakland City Council meetings.
“Together, in 2016, Baykeeper and No Coal in Oakland persuaded city leaders to ban the handling and storage of coal from Oakland. This victory would not have been won without No Coal in Oakland’s impressive education and outreach efforts to mobilize the community. They are an all-volunteer grassroots partner that is a force for protecting communities and the Bay from coal pollution.
“Baykeeper honors No Coal in Oakland for outstanding advocacy to stop coal pollution. And we’ll keep working together until coal pollution is no longer a threat to local communities and San Francisco Bay.”
Aaron Reaven, who accepted the award on behalf of NCIO, acknowledged the role Baykeeper has played in reducing pollution at the Richmond Levin terminal (which they sued in 2011) (see their web post at https://baykeeper.org/blog/battle-stop-coal-pollution-bay). “We recognize with deep appreciation that SF Baykeeper was defending Richmond against actual coal pollution even before NCIO came together to prevent the incursion of coal into West Oakland and onto the Oakland waterfront.”
He also appreciated Baykeeper for collaborating in the Oakland coal campaign (including intervening to defend the city against Tagami’s lawsuit).
Aaron concluded with a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” He added, “I think we here this evening understand Dr. King’s eloquent statement to include all of the living biosphere, including us humans.