Oakland (sorta) – This post is in reference to the Oakland Post Opinion column that was posted on November 7th, and is entitled “We Still Object To Coal.” When this vlogger saw the entry refering to the Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, and all of its completely baseless claims about it, response was the immediate objective.
While Zennie62Media does proudly have Insight Terminal Solutions as a client, it’s because I pursued them, not the other way around, and I did so because I wanted to use Zennie62Media’s considerable and unique online network of 98 blogs and hundreds of social media accounts to provide a mutli-platform counter-attack in what has been a very one-sided and very anti-intellectual media landscape around OBOT.
Moreover, the post mentioned names, and as has been the sad habit of “No Coal” people, all too often reaches for the personal. There’s a reason for this: they may be very nice people but they just don’t at all truly know or understand what they’re writing about. That’s not intended to be unkind, just honest.
When faced with a technical problem that one does not understand, such personal approaches are common. That is one reason why racism has crept into the conversation when one publication mentioned “black leaders” being lobbied to stop Oakland’s Coal Ban. That claim was purely wrong, and avoids the work of OBOT developer Phil Tagami, and completely ignores the fact the City of Oakland itself, in the form of my former City of Oakland co-workers Pat Cashman and Doug Cole, were directly involved with Phil in developing it.
The Oakland Bulk And Oversized Terminal has been about restoring jobs that were lost because of the closure of the Oakland Army Base in West Oakland. The problem with the Oakland Post Opinion column is that it never at all mentions the jobs issue, let alone the giant homeless problem that has grown in the wake of the base closure. In fact, the “No Coal” effort never at all presents any jobs solution, no alternative new development to replace the lost Oakland Army Base jobs, just says “no” to the only one presented: The Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk And Oversized Terminal.
Moreover, the Oakland Post post says, in part, “The federal judge cited in the (October 31st Oakland Post) article did not determine that there is no health risk to Oakland residents. His conclusions, which pertain only to how the Council evaluated reports submitted by health experts, are being challenged on multiple grounds in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.”
Well, it’s really clear The Oakland Post authors did not at all read the 2018 “coal ruling”, which says, in part
“The National Fire Protection Association also classifies commodities into “dust hazard classes” based on their relative risk of explosion (using a slightly different ranking than for fire risk). Bituminous coal dust and petroleum coke dust are both classified in the lowest dust hazard class. By comparison, cellulose, which is the main component of paper (and which the City presumably would have no objection to shipping through the terminal, at least so long as it’s recycled), belongs to a higher dust hazard class. NFPA 68 Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting at 68-57, 68-67 (Ex. 900.0060, 0070); Tr. 415:17-416:11 (Rangwala).
So, Federal Judge Judge Chhabria did, indeed, determine that there’s “ no health risk to Oakland residents” by comparing coal dust and coke dust to dust from cellulose, which is the main component of paper, and indeed, Oakland does allow the shipment of. This is not to advocate for uncovered rail cars; OBOT has always called for covered rail hopper cars to be used.
Moreover, the Oakland Global Rail Enterprise (OGRE) engine, is a low-emissions, hi-tech wonder that will be used to pull the covered rail hopper cars and that Oakland should be proud of, and Phil Tagami has tirelessly worked to bring to reality in our city. Which brings me and us to this point: covered rail cars are in operation up and down the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard. It is completely idiotic to write “ITS is basing these claims on technologies that have never been used for coal transport — or even proven feasible — such as covered rail cars”, when “covered rail hopper cars” are not a dream, but a reality.
And this is another fact the No Coal people could have investigated had they actually talked to Phillip Tagami: John Siegel, ITS CEO agreed to Tagami’s requirement that coal shipments be done in covered cars. The first partner Kinder Morgan was fired by Tagami because they did not comply with his edict!
And now-former Oakland economic development director Fred Blackwell told us OBOT would be environmentally friendly:
Technology And It’s Ability To Reduce Emissions To Near-Zero Is Ignored By The No Coal People
Why can’t we move back to a technology-first development discussion around OBOT. In a world where technologies have advanced to the point where “artificial intelligence” is a common and known term, and people like me build simple examples of “AI” code on a regular basis, there’s zero reason why technology can’t achieve as close to a zero-emissions transport effort as possible, and a low level unprecedented in history. Why can’t Oakland combine technological innovation and economic development? Those are questions not answered by the Oakland Post authors, or for that matter, The Sierra Club.
The Homeless Need Basic Jobs In Oakland And OBOT Provides That
The Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal will add new basic jobs not easily taken out by automation. Oakland, once a leader in manufacturing and transportation employment, can regain that effort with the kind of smart development OBOT offers. The Oakland Post authors don’t realize that the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal is the end result of an economic development objective that was established at the giant Oakland Sharing The Vision meeting that drew 500 Oaklanders in 1991 – both Phil and I attended that meeting. In fact, the late Oakland City Citizens Committee Executive Director David Glover introduced us.
This bulk terminal has been a dream in the eye of Port of Oakland planners for years. Phil Tagami remembered that when the City of Oakland called for proposals to replace the closing Army Base. The truth is the City of Oakland was, from the start, a willing development partner in the formation of the OBOT concept, right down to the identification of coal as a commodity.
The true history of the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal is covered here at Oakland News Now. There’s no excuse for anyone not to read my blog. It has many uncomfotable truths that my client wants people to know. Anyone who says there was an effort to not reveal is, themselves, telling a lie. I have all of the court documents and technical papers, and the background to understand and explain them. Moreover, as one who’s known Phil for over 30 years, I’ve shared in his desire to see this project to reality. Oakland needs the OBOT. And that brings me to another uncomfortable truth about how we got here: Tom Steyer.
Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor are known direct and indirect supporters of the non-profits that have been involved in opposing OBOT. But what’s not considered is Mr. Steyer’s recent past as a coal investor. Because the people involved with the “no coal” effort are not futurists, they missed what’s in the fact of those, like myself, who are: that Steyer’s expense to cause media to put out negative information about the same industry, coal, he invested in, can only point to one thing.
It points to an effort to devalue coal mines and then buy them at “junk” prices, fire the workers, apply automation, and then revive them. The biggest losers in all of this are the coal workers, who need federal and state subsidies to draw technology to solve the emmisssions problem and save jobs in the process, but don’t get them. And what they have in common with West Oakland’s homeless is that the “No Coal In Oakland” effort doesn’t care about them, one bit.
And all of this masks other truths the “No Coal Oakland” people don’t want to hear, or don’t know:
1. America is one of the top five coal producing nations in the World: China, India, US, Australia and Indonesia make up the five leading coal producing countries in the world.
2. Coal is responsible for 71 percent of the urban development in the entire World, according to the World bank.
3. Coal demand around the World is not decreasing at any great rate, and the United States’s coal reserves would be tapped by someone in an effort to feed demand.
4. There are many very financially American healthy coal companies with great balance sheets.
The point here is not to cheer for coal, but to wake people up. Coal’s not going anywhere, and Tom Steyer knows what he’s doing: by his very actions, including running for POTUS, he’s proving he wants to make coal mines below investment grade, then invest in an effort to swoop in and buy them. Steyer’s bought the campaigns of many local Oakland democrats, and invested $90 million in the party, as a whole.
Steyer may say that he’s motivated by “studies” but the main one, even it’s authors say, is just a scenario, and not a forecast. Look, climate change is a real problem, no question. Trouble is, in a World divided between tech and non-tech, the “non-techs” don’t know the difference between a scenario and forecast, and have went into a complete panic.
It’s Time For OBOT And Insight Terminal Solutions And Technology
It’s time to stop the riduculous claims and baseless arguments, and the myths and build OBOT. It’s also time to stop the hypocracy: the Levin-Richmond Terminal is a true coal terminal and is served by auto and rail tranportation lines that run through Oakland. The Oakland Post piece seems to forget it exists. It is what the OBOT will not be: a facility that has open coal pits and has an emmissions problem. Why can’t we free Oakland to show Richmond how to build a 21st Century heavy industry clean emissions model? That’s a hell of a lot more fun than all of this awful “no coal” rhetoric.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media