Oakland (sorta) – Insight Terminal Solutions has announced a new and what it calls “forward-thinking” plan for the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) coal transportation process. But, before we look at the plan, let’s recap what led to it.
The Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal is the development that was established by California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG) working with the City of Oakland in 2011. CCIG’s managing partner Phil Tagami’s idea was to revive a long-desired call for a bulk terminal to replace the closed Oakland Army Base. (And this blogger was there in 1991, when Oakland Sharing The Vision picked the deep-water bulk terminal port project as the number one priority for Oakland to implement. One reason why Zennie62Media was secured by ITS to tell the true OBOT story.)
CCIG won the competition to replace the Oakland Army Base because the City of Oakland believed it offered the best chance to replace the low-skilled, well-paying jobs the military provided in West Oakland. Indeed, the OBOT has produced over 1,000 jobs to date, and is expected to add 400 construction jobs and 150 long-term union positions to Oakland employment rolls.
OBOT Feels The Tom Steyer Money Effect
But the OBOT project ran up against a political tide fueled by the giant spending effort of billionaire former coal and hedge fund investor Tom Steyer, who’s now running for President Of The United States. Steyer, who suddenly turned to push climate change legislation via funding existing and new non-profit environmental groups and giving big donations to California politicians, fueled a political climate that spooked many City of Oakland officials.
The result was that in 2016 an “Oakland Coal Ban” was passed by the Oakland City Council. But that piece of ill-advised legislation was ruled illegal in 2018, simply because the City of Oakland itself had helped write and then signed the OBOT development agreement! It was, essentially, reneging on its own deal.
That started a court battle that’s continued to go in CCIG / Phil Tagami / Insight Terminal Solutions favor. The “Oakland Protocol”, announced in an article at The Oakland Post, is an effort to bring the legal battle to an end, and continue building OBOT.
What Is The “Oakland Protocol”?
According to Insight Terminal Solutions CEO John Siegel, the “Oakland Protocol” is called “5-3-0”, where ITS will agree to limit the transportation of coal through OBOT to 5 million tons a year for the first 10 years of OBOT’s operation, and 3 million tons per year for the next 10 years. After the initial 20 years of OBOT shipping, Insight Terminal Solutions agrees not to ship any coal through the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal for the remainder of its 66-year lease.
Mr. Siegel told The Oakland Post “The phase out represents a 92 percent reduction in the amount of coal that could be shipped and eliminates coal by 2040, thereby beating the timetable in California Senate Bill 100 which would not make the state’s energy supply 100 percent carbon free until 2045.” The phase out gives ITS time to supplement and then replace coal with a variety of bulk commodities from grain, to soda ash, to wood chips, and in accordance with the original commodity hauling plan for OBOT, as explained in this video by Phil Tagami:
Low-Emission Oakland Global Rail Enterprise (OGRE) To Be Used With OBOT
Commodities will be brought into OBOT via the low-Emission Oakland Global Rail Enterprise (OGRE), and using covered rail hopper cars, that was introduced several months ago. Then, as the video above shows, a fully enclosed, semi-automated system will move coal from the cars to ships for delivery. “No one in Oakland will ever see, smell or breathe coal dust,” said Greg McConnell, an Oakland-based consultant for Insight Terminal Solutions. “We want the Oakland Protocol to be the way the world’s commodities are shipped and handled in the future,” Siegel said.
Insight Terminal Solutions “Oakland Initiatives Fund”
Insight Terminal Solutions will also create the “Oakland Initiatives Fund” to develop resources to fund service programs in accordance with City of Oakland initiatives. Under the “Oakland Initiatives Fund”, ITS will deposit 50 cents per ton for all commodities shipped through the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal. Insight Terminal Solutions estimates that $6 million to $7 million generated, annually. “Equally important, ITS will leave decisions on how to spend the money to community representatives,” said Siegel.
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