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Oakland to ban coal shipments from proposed new terminal

Oakland City Council has voted down a plan to use a proposed new terminal for shipping coal from Utah to markets in Asia, according to the Associated Press.

The vote, after four hours of debate in a crowded chamber, was unanimous and supporters cited health concerns about coal dust pollution as a major reason for the decision.

Specifically, the vote approved an ordinance that bans the transport, handling and storage of coal and petroleum coke at terminals and bulk material facilities in Oakland.

The proposed terminal is in West Oakland on a site of an army base that closed in 1999.

Supporters of the ban referred to studies showing the pollution risks of transporting and storing coal.

Proponents of the terminal, opposing the ban, said that health concerns were unjustified because the use of covered rail cars that would be unloaded underground meant there was virtually no risk of coal dust escaping into the air.

They also claimed the project would bring much-needed employment to the area.

Without the coal shipment option, the chances of the terminal being built are significantly reduced.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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