Atlanta – The Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) is vastly different from the planned coal terminal that was the focus of a negative court ruling in Washington State. That’s the most appropriate way to address any question that reads “Isn’t there a coal terminal proposed for Oakland, California?” The direct answer would be no.
First, the Washington State news.
Last week, the Washington State Court of Appeals struck down a 2017 ruling in favor of the proposed Millenium Bulk Terminal. The developers of Millenium Bulk Terminal sued the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for denying a sublease to them.
If built, the Millenium Bulk Terminal would be the largest facility of its kind on the west coast. The state appeals court ruling overturned the original “decision by Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning that DNR acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in denying Millennium sublease for aquatic lands leased by Northwest Alloys Inc,” according to The Daily Astorian.
But a closer look at that ruling shows that the reason for the state appellate court’s decision wasn’t strictly for environmental concerns. Rather, the story goes that it was because Millenium’s developers failed to provide the necessary proof that it had the financial muscle to take care of the acquatic lands around the facility. Reportedly, the previous property leaseholder, subtenant named Chinook Ventures, “failed to obtain the required state and local regulatory permits for its petroleum coke business and failed to provide adequate environmental controls.
Millenium has vowed to seek other legal remedies, indicating the fight is not over. And it’s here that it’s important to highlight the vast differences between Washington and Oakland, before those who lack a desire for details start to compare the two situations.
Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal Is Not A Coal Terminal
Zennie62Media was commissioned to tell the developer’s story about the OBOT and address online misconceptions about the project. As the video below will show, the ITS OBOT was never intended to be a coal terminal. It was designed to be a “just-in-time” bulk commodities terminal, flexible enough to handle sulphur, iron ore, coal, and other materials. Moreover, the ITS OBOT was designed to keep all materials in storage for a very short period of time before shipping. The rail shipment would arrive, and then be moved to the bulk cargo vessel just as soon as the train arrives at the OBOT transfer terminal.
By dramatic contrast, the Millenium Bulk Terminal’s specific and only intent is to haul coal. The Millenium Bulk Terminal developer The Lighthouse Group, specifically described the project as a coal export terminal:
MBT-Longview is developing a world-class, international coal port facility that will represent over $2.5 billion in annual exports at full build-out. Stage one will result in a coal export terminal with 25 million tons per year capacity. Stage two will take total export capacity to 44 million tons per year. The remainder of the site is for other non-coal products, including alumina.
Moreover, the land the Millenium Bulk Terminal was set to be built on is called a “brownfields” site, that requires extensive environmental cleanup that the developer says has been done.
By contrast, the Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal was created to be part of a giant logistics center built on land that was once used by the U.S. Army. The Oakland Army Base, which employed 7,000 people, was closed by the government in 1992, as part of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission’s overall decision action.
Phil Tagami, Managing Partner of California Capital Investment Group (CCIG) won a 2008 Oakland Redevelopment Agency-directed competition to build a job-creating replacement for the Oakland Army Base. The sell-point was that the proposed Oakland Global – Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal would bring thousands of basic industry jobs that fit Oakland’s policy of favoring “living wage” employment opportunities.
Even though the City of Oakland economic development officials working with Mr. Tagami not only knew that coal would be one of the commodities handled, and helped Phil by commissioning a study that pointed to coal as a commodity that should be part of the mix of materials handled by the OBOT, and that information was presented to the Oakland City Council in a 2009 meeting agenda document, when political attention turned to climate change concerns in 2013, sources say the City of Oakland was not forthcomming in its information about the involvement of coal in the project.
Rather than alter that state of affairs, one current City of Oakland economic development staffer told Zennie62media that “everyone knew it was a cover-up” – even as the materials Mr. Tagami provided presented a true view of a project that handled coal, and other commodities.
A Plan To Build A Near Zero-Emissions Bulk Terminal And Use The OGRE Engine
Contrary to belief, the total documents and interviews show a plan to build the Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal as a near-zero-emissions facility. Mr. Tagami worked to develop a rail engine that met the challenge: called the OGRE Engine, where “OGRE” stands for Oakland Global Rail Enterprises.
The new tech rail engine is called a “new less polluting, tier 4 locomotive” that was created in partnership with Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Community Health Protection Grant program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, and Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.
Plan To Use Covered Rail Cars For Bulk Commodities Transport
In addition to OGRE, the Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal also will employ covered rail cars in the transport of coal. This has been the plan, and the insitence of Mr. Tagami, from the start.
In 2018, a federal district court ruled that the hastily slapped “Oakland Coal Ban” was illegal, and ordered the City of Oakland to allow Mr. Tagami and Insight Terminal Solutions to start building the OBOT. To date, the City of Oakland has acted in defiance of the judges order.
Videos Show The Differences Between The ITS-Oakland And Millenium Longview Projects
The following videos show just how different the Insight Terminal Solutions Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal is from the Millenium Bulk Terminal Project. Again, the Millenium project is developed to be a coal terminal and uses open rail cars, whereas the OBOT is a full bulk commodities terminal, and uses covered rail cars. Here’s then Oakland Economic Development Director Fred Blackwell to explain what the OBOT is, in our 2012 interview:
Here’s the Millenium Bulk Terminal Project Video: