With 7,000 workers, The Oakland Army Base Annex was one of the largest employers in Oakland when it was closed by the Federal Government in 1993. The objective of the San Francisco Bay Area Military Base Closure and Reuse Program was to replace the jobs lost. Today, one of those efforts, what is now called The Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, has already replaced 44 percent of that total number of Army Base employees.
The breakdown of those positions, from an overview perspective, consists of 1,700 construction employees and environmental remediation workers, and the remainder, many different positions related to the provision of such services as architectural drawings work. It also consists of special workers who were previously in jail, and are getting a new lease on life.
Also, it must be noted that the developers report the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal has met or exceeded all of the employment objectives set for it in the agreement documents with the City of Oakland, including the Construction Jobs Policy.
The City of Oakland, together with The Oakland City Attorney, and activists, have engaged in a campaign of mistruths that, together, have formed a complete misunderstanding of what the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal is.
The OBOT is not a coal factory. Moreover, it is not across the street from any Oakland neighborhood. And while the same activists rail against OBOT, they have no problem with air polluting trucks driving right by West Oakland homes; OBOT is situated well-away from West Oakland homes and shielded from them by the Port of Oakland and the interstate freeway system that runs by it - a fact not presented in the mainstream media.
As per the City of Oakland's own development agreements with phil tagami and California Capital and Investment Group, the objective was and has been to build a much-talked about, and much needed multi-commodity bulk terminal, and a giant logistics center around it. That has been the case going back to the City of Oakland-commissioned TIOGA Study, first developed as a proposal in 2009, then released as a report in 2012.
At that time, the objective was the same as now: a multi-commodity bulk terminal that efficiently transfers mineral shipments from rail to ship bound for Pacific Rim ports of call.
World Wide Industrial Reality Flies In The Face Of OBOT Opponents
Contrary to a popular but erroneous belief among some in America that worldwide demand for iron ore and most notably coal is declining, the fact is that "global coal demand is strong" according to the World Economic Forum in its February 6, 2019 report, which reads:
A recent analysis of the global coal industry by the International Energy Agency highlights the growing number of countries adopting climate policy goals that facilitate the move away from coal. But despite growing awareness of the impact of climate change and a number of high-profile divestments away from fossil fuels, global demand for coal remains strong.
Growing demand for coal
Following two years of decline, expanding economic growth resulted in coal demand rising by 1% in 2017 and this trend is expected to continue, the report says.
India, Korea, Russia, and China, Drive Coal Demand, More Than Offsetting US, UK, Europe
While the demand for coal has dramatically decreased in the United States and Europe, India, Korea, Russia, and China have combined to offset that dynamic. The result is that coal's contribution to global energy production is expected to decrease by only two percent in the next five years - that works out to just 16 percent in 40 years at the current rate.
In addition to that bit of math comes another sobering fact: while emissions declines should be an industrial policy, not every industrialized country shares that belief. And that leads to another fact.
Studies show that changes in lifestyle that would lead to large reductions in energy consumption still have far less impact that reductions in world population.
In "How does Population Growth Affects the Environment Sustainability?" from Clark University, in 2017, Ross Blanc writes this:
Population growth has had a negative impact on the quality of the environment. As more land is used for agriculture or living purposes, the environment changes drastically. As the population of humans grows in certain cities or rural areas, more resources must be used to maintain the well-being of the population. With the increasing pressure on available resources, many habitats are being destroyed. Humans are using up more resources and the amount and nature can’t replenish those resources fast enough to supply our needs. The atmosphere is also negatively impacted by population growth.
Thus, the real conversation we all need to have is around just how large should our World population be, and how do we control that? The good news is that our current rate of population growth is at just 1.1 percent annually. The bad news is, early forecasts going back to the 1972 Club of Rome Report and the book Limits To Growth (based on the World 3 system dynamics model) were that we were supposed to achieve zero population growth in 2010 - this is 2019, and we're not there.
Political Wars Will Not Solve The Pollution Problem In America
Right now, we're in the middle of a political war in America between people who call themselves progressives and others who say they're conservative. In this ideological battle, it must be explained that neither side is correct: the progressives are wrong to think that just shutting down industrial activities deemed as "polluting" will solve the emissions problem without weakening our economy; conservatives can't ignore the negative environmental impacts of those same industries, and the health problems they can cause, not to mention the climate impacts.
Thus, a compromise that involves the use of technologies like covered rail cars in the case of coal, subsidies for the development of new energy sources, job retraining programs for workers, and an earnings safety net for transitioning workers, is necessary if the overall objectives of both sides is to be realized in the USA. Projects like the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal must be part of this future.