Oakland Port Coal Ban Ruling
A federal judge in California has struck down the city of Oakland's ban on coal shipments through its port. This opens up the possibility of a coal terminal coming to West Oakland. Mayoral candidate and impacted West Oakland resident Cat Brooks responded:
“I am a mother of a twelve-year-old daughter with asthma. We have lived in West Oakland for almost a decade now. Over the last ten years, I have had to hospitalize my daughter on multiple occasions. This coal terminal is personal for me. Phil Tagami is once again putting profit over people, but the blame does not just lie with him. The sitting council at that time - which included Libby Schaaf - had the ability to stop this deal with Phil Tagami before it started. They could have - and should have - had the foresight to place a no-coal provision in writing in the contract. Instead, they took Phil Tagami at his “word” when he promised not to ship coal.”
A study from Alameda County Public Health found that the life expectancy for someone born and raised in West Oakland is at least 10 years less than someone born and raised in the Oakland Hills. Moreover, open-top rail cars that transport coal lose up to 600 pounds of coal dust per car; this translates to 60,000 pounds of toxic fine particulate matter entering our air and water for every trip made by a coal train. Coal dust can cause build up on the tracks, causing derailments and spontaneous explosions. According to a Communities for a Better Environment study, 91 percent of the people within a mile of the railroad tracks in Oakland are people of color.
“There are young people in our City right now organizing around this issue. They fear for their lives. They fear for their health. It is not just guns in Oakland that kill young people. Our air and water and paint are killing our youth as well. Tagami broke his promise and now the children of Oakland will pay the price for Schaaf’s and City Council’s mismanagement.
Oakland deserves leadership that governs with care and concern for our young people, our elderly and our most vulnerable. We need leadership that is more interested in building a quality, healthy and thriving Oakland than Mayor singularly focused on development, profit and the next deal. As mayor, I promise - in partnership with the people - to do just that.”