NEWS: Coalition requests federal investigation of Utah funding for Oakland port

Molly Marcello
June 23 2016
The Times-Independent

A coalition of nine groups, including law firms and organizations throughout Utah and the West, has formally requested a federal investigation into Utah’s allocation of $53 million to buy throughput capacity at an Oakland, California, deep-water shipping terminal. In a June 20 letter, the coalition asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Office of Natural Resource Revenue Director Gregory Gould and Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall to investigate possible legal and ethical violations behind the state’s months-long effort to purchase throughput capacity — which would allow Utah to export bulk goods such as coal overseas. The coalition especially takes issue with Senate Bill 246, passed this spring by the Utah Legislature, which provides the means through which the $53 million will be allocated and administered by the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB).

In the letter, representatives from Moab-based Living Rivers and the Sloan Law Firm, joined Alliance for a Better Utah, the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Grand Canyon Trust, HEAL Utah, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and the Sierra Club to argue that the federal Mineral Leasing Act “was not meant to subsidize private projects that promote yet more mineral leasing.”

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