City Of Oakland To Appeal Ruling Rejecting Coal Ban
Oakland, CA – On the recommendation of City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, the City Council today voted unanimously to appeal the May 23rd federal district court judgment that allows development of a massive, unsafe coal export terminal in Oakland.
Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, LLC v. City of Oakland, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. 16-cv-07014-VC
U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria’s ruling enjoins the City from enforcing its 2016 law banning the handling and storage of coal at OBOT’s proposed bulk goods terminal. The City Council enacted the ordinance under its lawful power to prevent substantially dangerous health and safety conditions in and around the proposed terminal in West Oakland.
City Attorney Parker made the following public statement after the Council voted in closed session:
“The City Council has voted to appeal the federal district court’s May 23 judgment enjoining the City from enforcing its ordinance banning coal with respect to the proposed export terminal at the former Army Base. We believe the City has the responsibility and the authority to act when the health and safety of our residents is endangered. The Council acted pursuant to the City’s police powers to ban the storage and handling of millions of tons of coal in West Oakland. Those activities pose a clear and demonstrable danger to Oakland residents, especially children whose health will be directly impacted by coal dust and other health and safety hazards related to a massive and inherently unsafe coal export operation. This threat is especially critical in West Oakland, a neighborhood that has been ravaged by environmental injustice and high levels of pollution in the air, water and soil for at least half a century.”
The City Attorney will file the appeal in coming weeks.
City Councilmember Dan Kalb issued the following statement: “As author of the legislation banning the storage and handling of coal in Oakland, I was disappointed at the decision issued by U.S. Judge Chhabria in OBOT v. City of Oakland. Appealing the court’s ruling is critical for the health and safety of our East Bay communities and our planet. The residents and workers of Oakland and nearby communities should not and cannot afford to be subjected to any more environmental hazards, including those created by coal dust.”
Mayor Schaaf said:
“I am proud Oakland will continue to fight for our community’s health by appealing a federal court judgment that would allow a coal terminal built in our city. The storage and handling of unsafe coal in West Oakland threatens the well-being of all residents, but it will unfairly and unjustly impact those who live closest to the terminal and already suffer health disparities from pollutants and foul air. I am fighting for the health of our community, environmental justice, and equity.”