Come to the May 3 meeting of the Oakland City Council to tell them to hire public health experts, not Environmental Science Associates (ESA), to review evidence about the dangers of shipping coal through Oakland’s bulk terminal. We expect a proposal from Health Impact Partners (HIP)–experts in public health assessment– to be on the agenda May 3 along with the ESA proposal. We need public support for the council to choose the public health alternative.
No Coal in Oakland is supporting the proposal from HIP, a national leader in the field of health impact assessment based right here in Oakland. They will subcontract PSE Healthy Energy, an Oakland-based energy science and policy institute. In addition, they will assemble 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. This panel will guide the process and provide feedback throughout the review.
The HIP proposal is a much more appropriate review process to evaluate the health and safety impact of coal.
In contrast, ESA is notorious in the Bay Area for writing the Environmental Impact Review that gave the green light to Valero’s crude oil-by-rail project, which is now being contested 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 the crude-by-rail project would cause. In addition, activists question ESA’s commitment to a fair review of the health and safety dangers of coal, pointing to the fact that the team they propose to do the review doesn’t include a single public health expert. No Coal in Oakland says the city should hire public health experts–not a consulting firm with a vested interest in maintaining a good relationship the fossil-fuel industry—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, the Council dropped a proposal to hire ESA, at the urging of the Mayor, who is strongly opposed to coal. No Coal in Oakland was hopeful that the idea of using ESA, with its typical job being to write reports favoring development, was dead. When the Council decided to consider a revised proposal from ESA, No Coal in Oakland learned of the alternative proposal from public health experts. Strong public pressure is needed to tell the Council to select HIP rather than ESA 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 you can then yield your time to someone else so that a speaker who needs three or four minutes can use your time.
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.
PLEASE SIGN UP TO SPEAK. We always need some people who have signed up to cede their time to others.
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PSST! THERE’S FREE PARKING
The lot behind City Hall on Clay Street has free parking after 4:30 p.m. on City Council meeting nights.
1 Frank H Ogawa Plz
Oakland, CA 94612
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