(Last Updated On: June 3, 2019)

Oakland Students In SF To Protest Were Lied To About A Coal Terminal


ONN – Students In SF To Protest Were Lied To About A Coal Terminal

The students that went over to San Francisco to protest the Bank of Montreal on Friday, did so on the basis of a lie. The Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) is not a coal terminal. It’s a multi-commodity facility designed to accept commodities like iron ore, coal, and sulphur, via rail and transfer them to ships bound for the Pacific Rim nations of China, Korea, and Japan.

Another lie is that this facility is part of the fossil fuel industry – it’s not at all. The protestors don’t seem to know that coal is used with iron ore to make steel. Steel is used to build buildings around the World. It’s estimated that coal represents 70 to 80 percent of all worldwide urban development. Thus, a slow-down in fossil-fuel related demand for coal would not at all stop overall worldwide demand for coal.

Yet another lie is that the City of Oakland didn’t know coal was involved in OBOT. That’s not true, and the proof is in the “TIOGA Study” that was called for in 2009, and released in 2012. That study pointed to the need to partner with an organization that was experienced in the transportation of coal from key markets in America to the countries of the Pacific Rim.

At the time in 2009, many in the City of doubted that could find and partner with such an organization (even the consultant’s report expressed such an idea) – but he did just that. (And something the City of should reward Phil for doing – he saw a market that didn’t think existed. He proved the City of wrong, and to its benefit – but they either can’t or refuse to see that truth.)

The point is, the City of was a willing partner with – the idea the City of ’s fabricating that it didn’t know about the role of coal in OBOT until 2015 is a complete falsehood. A deep-water bulk and oversized commodity terminal has been the dream of many economic development planners and Port of commissioners since 1990.

Fred Blackwell, former City of Oakland Economic Development Director, now CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, has said that what is now called The Bulk and Oversized Terminal was designed to be a gift to the environmental community, pointing to the fact that trucks are not in the plan for the facility, and covered hopper cars (referred to also as covered coal cars, but they carry more than coal) are in the plan. The idea is to go from rail to ship via container, and all enclosed.

Here’s the City of ’s Mr. Blackwell on August 16th, 2012:

Where all of this went off the rails was when tech investor and former coal investor Tom Steyer started spending millions to craft an anti-coal message, starting in 2014. This ger personally believes Steyer’s intent is to rid valuable land near the water of industrial uses, thus opening those areas, like the Army Base, for residential development of market rate housing. (Steyer is noted as a major investor in a real estate firm that has evicted many black and elderly persons from West .) That can’t fix the problem that has of a giant lack of basic industry jobs that pay well.

Tom Steyer (photo courtesy ABC News)
Tom Steyer (photo courtesy ABC )

(And here’s another allegation

With the proper application of technology, as is evident in the Bulk and Oversized Terminal, and the SF Bay Area can have sustainable heavy industry jobs. The objective should be to create jobs that homeless Oakland residents can get – ask yourself why those who claim to be concerned about and not OBOT don’t talk about the jobs problem and what to do about it?

Meanwhile, and San Francisco have a 35 percent under-employment rate. Simply put, we have one-third of the population working in jobs and at low wage levels that are not reflective of their experience and talent. OBOT and the project to redevelop the Army Base was formed long ago, back in the early 1990s, to respond to Federal Government plans to close the military bases – the idea was to replace the lost jobs.

The City of selected to build his terminal plan idea back in 2008; again, it was known that a bulk commodity terminal with coal was the idea. It wasn’t until Tom Steyer’s political campaign was launched, that what Phil was hired to do by the City of , was considered a problem.

Rather than help carry out a development contract that it signed, the City of has told mistruths, and made a lot of mistakes in the way this was handed to date.

That’s the truth.

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By Zennie Abraham

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