The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Oakland's Ban on Coal Shipments Overturned by Judge
A federal judge Tuesday struck down the city of Oakland's ban on coal shipments through a planned export terminal.
U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ridiculed the city for violating its contract with the developer of the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal in its 2016 ban, writing in his opinion that there is no "substantial evidence" that coal shipments "would pose a substantial health or safety danger" to Oakland residents.
"This is a fight for environmental justice and equity," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. "Oakland's most vulnerable communities have unfairly suffered the burden of pollutants and foul air for too long." The terminal's developers plan to source coal from the Powder River Basin region to store in Oakland before shipping overseas, and the judge's ruling was celebrated by local officials in coal-producing towns in Wyoming and Utah.
As reported by Bloomberg:
As demand for coal in the U.S. declines, miners depend increasingly on overseas markets. Yet Wyoming and Montana's Powder River Basin, home to the nation's largest reserves, is largely cut off from the world market without West Coast ports.
Oakland is among several terminals in California and the Pacific Northwest that environmentalists have pushed to close to miners in an effort to keep U.S. coal off the international market. Reversing the ban could increase exports by as much as 19 percent, according to the Sierra Club.
For a deeper dive:
- While Oakland Is Worried About Getting Coal, Richmond Is Covered ... ›
- Interests Widen in Legal Fight Over Coal-Export Terminal ... ›
- Port developer attacks Oakland coal ban and city's claims that Utah ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?
By Eoin Higgins
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.