UPDATE On July 19, the Oakland City Council took it's second vote to make the ban on coal transshipment final.
On Monday evening, June 27, the Oakland City Council voted to ban the transshipment of coal through the Port of Oakland. About a dozen First Church members, including several members of the Green Ministry Team, attended a special meeting. The Council heard testimony and then voted unanimously for the ban. It was a raucous evening of official reports and community testimony that stretched well into the evening. The debate drew an overflow crowd.
A group of West Oakland residents provided the most outspoken commentary, claiming that the ban would eliminate the possibility of jobs in that neighborhood.
Environmental groups had organized a No Coal movement for months in opposition to the proposed shipping center that was being developed by well-known Oakland developer Phil Tagami. Several labor leaders spoke up in favor of the ban, claiming that shipping coal would present serious health hazards. An official report commissioned by the Council confirmed that view.
First Church Green Team member Paul Chapman spoke before the Council. Specifically naming First Church Berkeley he said, ?As stewards of the environment, we know this facility is not consistent with Oakland?s significant leadership in environmental sustainability. We join with other faith communities in expressing our opposition.?