Mayors of 11 East Bay cities have sent a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland City Council urging them not to allow coal to be shipped from a marine terminal that’s under development at the former Oakland Army Base.
The Oakland City Council approved a contract in 2012 with California Capital and Investment Group to develop the site but the mayors said in their letter that coal was not considered in the environmental review of the project when it was approved.
The 11 mayors said, “If you don’t stop what would be the largest coal terminal on the West Coast of the U.S. the health and safety impacts would be severe, not just for Oakland but also for our communities and for the world.”
In their letter, the mayors said the American Lung Association considers coal dust a source of particulate matter that is dangerous to breathe and the World Health Organization cites coal dust, along with silica and asbestos, as responsible for most occupational lung diseases due to airborne particulate.
The mayors said, “Neighborhoods near the port, already suffering the health burdens of toxic pollution from other port activities, would be exposed to coal dust and increased emissions from increased coal train traffic. Our communities would be impacted.”
They also said, “A main rail line likely to be used by coal shipments passes through our cities. Our communities would be exposed no only to coal dust and increased diesel emissions but also to increased risk of collisions and derailments from coal trains.”
The mayors conclude, “We sincerely urge you — for the sake of all of us and the planet — to take action to reject the coal plan and protect the health and safety of our communities.”
The letter is signed by mayors Peter Maass of Albany, Tom Bates of Berkeley, Greg Lyman of El Cerrito, Dianne Martinez of Emeryville, Tom Butt of Richmond, David Haubert of Dublin, Bill Harrison of Fremont, Barbara Halliday of Hayward, John Marchand of Livermore, Pauline Cutter of San Leandro and Carol Dutra-Vernaci of Union City.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News