June 28, 2016
The council of the U.S. city of Oakland voted unanimously to bar shipments of coal through a proposed marine terminal on Monday, setting the stage for a legal battle.
The prospect of train cars carrying millions of tons of coal mined in Utah through Oakland before heading to Asian markets has inflamed passions in the city.
Opponents argue the potential emission of coal dust will harm health and exacerbate climate change. Hundreds of people protested at Oakland City Hall (Oscar Grant Plaza) to call for “No Coal – No Compromise” on the Saturday afternoon before the vote.
Dr Heather Kuiper, a member of the Public Health Advisory Panel that has released a report warning of health and safety dangers of the coal plan, says, “As public health professionals, our evidence-based determination is that the most effective way to protect Oakland’s residents, in particular in West Oakland, from the hazards introduced by the transport, storage and handling of coal is to prohibit these activities. We could not find evidence that the proposed mitigation measures would effectively protect Oakland’s residents. To the contrary our investigation suggests the possibility that these very measures may introduce new hazards into the city.”
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