After Oregon Rejects Coal Export Plan, Lengthy Beach Votes To Export Coal And PetKoch

Only a day after the Oregon Department of State Lands shot down a proposal to export 8.Eight million tons per 12 months of coal to Asia from the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon, the Long Beach Metropolis Council achieved the other.

In a 9-0 vote, the Council voted “yay” to export both coal and petroleum coke (petcoke, a tar sands by-product) to the global market — specifically Asia — out of Pier G to the tune of 1.7 million tons per yr. Some have decried petcoke as “dirtier than the dirtiest fuel.”

Extra specifically, the Council determined that doing an environmental affect statement before delivery the coal and petcoke abroad was not even mandatory.

A call initially made in June after which appealed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Protection Council (NRDC) and Communities for a greater Setting, the Council shot down the appeal at an August 19 hearing.

“We are very upset about the decision, but that doesn’t diminish the amazing victory in Oregon,” Earthjustice attorney Adrian Martinez said in a statement provided to DeSmogBlog by way of email. “The choice in Long Seaside just highlights the grasp that the fossil gas trade has on town’s leaders.”

The Earthjustice legal problem and the the subsequent August 19 hearing was not about banning coal or petcoke exports. Somewhat, Earthjustice and its clients requested that the city of Long Seashore do an environmental influence assertion for two firms given contracts to export the commodities for 15-20 years.

A kind of companies, Oxbow Carbon, is owned by the “Other Koch Brother,” William “Invoice” Koch. Like his brothers David and Charles Koch, he has made a fortune on the U.S. petcoke storage and export boom. Also like his brothers, he’s a serious donor to the Republican Get together.

Picture Credit score: City of Lengthy Beach

However the Lengthy Seaside City Council voted “nay” in unanimous style to do the environmental affect research. Earthjustice had argued it was required to do an environmental overview under the authorized dictates of the California Environmental High quality Act (CEQA).

“It is disappointing that the city would flip a blind eye to even doing a little basic evaluation of the impacts of this choice to lock into 15 years of exporting soiled fuels abroad,” stated Martinez.

“Greater than 100 residents confirmed up at the August 19 listening to to help pausing this deal and are deeply involved about how local weather change and pollution from exporting dirty fuels impacts them and future generations.”

Adding insult to harm, Sierra Club endorsed Vice Mayor and City Council member Suja Lowenthal in her Democratic Celebration primary race for State Meeting, which she recently misplaced.

The floodgates have been opened, then, to export huge quantities of coal and petcoke from the self-styled “Inexperienced Port.”

It comes at a time when numerous California refineries are retooling themselves to blend extra tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”), which will get to the Golden State primarily through rail.

Additional, it occurs at the identical time critics say the Obama Administration is exporting climate change by exporting coal abroad — usually to countries with none significant laws — even as his administration regulates U.S.-based mostly coal-fired energy plants.

Union, Oxbow Representatives Oppose Enviro Evaluate

While the vast majority of those that testified at the August 19 hearing before the Lengthy Seashore City Council voted spoke in favor of doing an environmental impression statement, a number of business executives and union staff spoke out against it.

“At the start, it’s best to know the facilities on Pier G are world-class operations that set the bar for environmental excellence in our industries. We are very pleased with what we do right here with the port,” Clayton Headley, Oxbow’s vice president of supply for the Pacific region acknowledged on the listening to.

“The belongings and operations of the Port of Lengthy Seaside…are recognized all through the world as examples of how things must be…Like the Port, we take our environmental stewardship significantly.”

A number of members of organized labor additionally took the side of the “Other Koch Brother” on the hearing.

Jesus Guzman, a unionized employee at Oxbow who has labored there for 18 years, mentioned that Oxbow has a “great monitor record and every little thing has been for the better” since he started working there.

Jesus Guzman, Oxbow Worker; Picture Credit score: City of Lengthy Seashore

“I work 12 hours a day and I have a clean bill of well being. I haven’t got asthma, I am not diabetic and [again] I work 12 hours a day,” said Guzman. “I’m here to say please allow me to be a sole provider for my family for 15 more years.”

Bobby Olvera, Jr., President of Worldwide Longshore Staff Union (ILWU) Local thirteen, also spoke out in opposition to an environmental evaluation at the listening to.

Bobby Olvera, Jr.; Picture Credit: Metropolis of Lengthy Beach

“I can not believe we now have to return here”

On the opposite facet of the talk, some residents argued this isn’t a debate over jobs, it is a debate over having to follow primary bread-and-butter environmental regulation.

“I am unable to consider all of us have to come here and virtually beg you for a CEQA review,” said Long Seaside citizen Catherine Castro. “I have to’ve been asleep on the wheel pondering our elected officials had been watching over us. My fault. But now I’m not asleep anymore. Those of us who put you in office, you are right here to serve and protect us and town.”

One other citizen, Jeff Miller, sang an identical tune.

“We had a couple of audio system who spoke in regards to the financial benefits of this undertaking and touted their group involvement, as well, and they form of implied that forty-50 years of working the way in which they’ve is purpose sufficient to allow them to proceed working as they’re because of those advantages. The implication is that this stuff will go away if they must do the Oil Refining Equipment best factor. And I do know we don’t imagine that,” stated Miller.

Jeff Miller; Photograph Credit score: Metropolis of Lengthy Beach

“We’re not asking that these operators necessarily depart the port: they don’t seem to be going to do this. Day-after-day I find a pleasant layer of film of darkish, black mud on my porch,” Miller continued. “We breathe that dust,I don’t understand how a lot of that’s attributable to this operations or the port operations, but shouldn’t we find out?