Come to the May 3 meeting of the Oakland City Council to insist that the Council hire public health experts as an essential component of the review of the health and safety risks of shipping coal through Oakland’s bulk terminal.
No Coal in Oakland has been concerned about the Council’s intention to hire Environmental Science Associates (ESA). At this point, our best hope is that they also hire Health Impact Partners (HIP) to analyze the health and safety concerns documented in the evidence. HIP is a national leader in the field of health impact assessment based here in Oakland and would work with PSE Healthy Energy, an Oakland-based energy science and policy institute, and a panel of Bay Area public health experts with a variety of backgrounds, including environmental health (including air quality, water quality and noise), environmental justice, occupational health and medicine, and epidemiology.
By contrast, ESA is a firm known for producing reports favoring developers. It is notorious in the Bay Area for writing the Environmental Impact Review that gave the green light to Valero’s contested crude-by-rail project in Benicia. Many critics, from environmental and community groups to the California’s attorney general, have called that review inadequate because it fails to fully report the many negative impacts that project would cause.
Activists question ESA’s commitment to a fair review of the health and safety dangers of coal. The team ESA proposes to do the review doesn’t include a single public health expert. No Coal in Oakland is insisting that the city also hire public health experts to summarize and synthesize the information received at a hearing on the impacts coal shipments would have on public health and safety in Oakland.
On February 16, at the urging of the Mayor who is strongly opposed to coal, the Council dropped a proposal to hire ESA. No Coal in Oakland was hopeful that the idea of using ESA was dead. Now a revised proposal from ESA seems headed for approval and needs to be supplemented with analysis by public health experts. Strong public pressure is needed to tell the Council to hire HIP for this essential component of the review, and make sure the investigation of evidence is valid and unbiased. Come help push the No Coal in Oakland campaign over the finish line.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: SIGN UP TO SPEAK OR CEDE TIME
The City Council allows public input on major agenda items such as coal, but each speaker only gets one minute to speak. You can sign up to speak and then yield your time to someone else so that a speaker who needs three or four minutes can use your time. We always need some people who have signed up to cede their time to others.
To get started, please use this link to sign up:
On the form enter your name, the date of 5/3/16, ‘coal’ in the “Item Number”, ‘City Council’ as the choice for “Comm/CouncilName.”
Finally enter ‘Yes’ as the choice for “Wish to Speak Concerning this Item,” if you wish to speak yourself. You can also enter the name of the person you want to cede time to so that that person can have more time for full expression. You can also cede your time by giving it up at the meeting even if you entered in the online form that you wish to speak.
After entering your speaker card form, you will get a confirmation number. Bring this with you to the meeting.