California Halts State Funds for Coal Shipment Projects

On August 26, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill to block state funds for any new project that would allow coal to be shipped or exported through this US state, effective January 1, 2017. 

Senate Bill 1279 will bar the California Transportation Commission from allocating state funds for new coal-related projects. The measure will only apply to future projects and would not affect existing projects that plan to improve safety, rehabilitation, congestion reduction, modernization or maintenance.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Loni Hancock in response to a proposed development project on city-owned land in Oakland which would have exported up to ten million tons of coal annually to China and other Asian countries.

In June, Oakland city council voted against the proposed USD 250 million deepwater terminal which was set to be built at the site of the former Oakland Army base. The decision prohibits the transportation, handling, and storage of coal and petroleum coke at bulk material facilities in Oakland.

“When I introduced this measure, many people thought a coal-export terminal in West Oakland was a done deal,State Senator Loni Hancock said, referring to Senate Bill 1279. “Today, people can breathe easier knowing that beginning in January no coal-related projects will receive state funding.”

Annual coal exports from Californian ports declined by more than one-third, from 4.65 million in 2014 to 2.96 million tons last year.

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