Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Oakland City Council votes to ban coal — from Utah or elsewhere — at its new port

Utah's push to export its coal culminated in a raucous Oakland City Council meeting, when officials debated, and ultimately approved, an ordinance banning the chunky fossil fuel from passing through a major deep-water port taking shape on the shores of the Bay Area city.

After months of study and fielding four hours of impassioned public comments, the council passed in a 7-0 vote the ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke to resounding applause from the residents packing the council chambers. The council also passed a related resolution applying the ordinance to the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT), which four coal-producing Utah counties want to invest in. The measures come back to the council for a second reading July 9.

 The move exposes the city, its lawyers warned, to hundreds of millions of dollars of liability for breaching its contract authorizing developer Phil Tagami to build what is known as Oakland Global Trade and Logistics Center on the city-owned former Oakland Army Base at the foot of the Bay Bridge.

OBOT is a $250 million component of Tagami's project, aimed at moving 10 million tons of bulk freight per year. Under a deal with four Utah counties — Carbon, Emery, Sevier and Sanpete ­— half that capacity would be reserved for Utah products in exchange for $50 million. Salt Lake Tribune