Port of Oakland, Developer Settle Environmental Group’s Lawsuit

The Port of Oakland has settled a lawsuit by a neighborhood advocacy group regarding a proposed bulk marine terminal. Photo: Port of Oakland.

The Port of Oakland and developer Eagle Rock Aggregates have resolved a lawsuit filed against them by a neighborhood advocacy group that had sued over the potential air pollution impacts of a planned bulk marine terminal.

The port announced Sept. 29 that its Board of Port Commissioners has approved changes in its agreement with Eagle Rock Aggregates regarding the bulk terminal as part of the settlement. The lawsuit was filed in April 2022 by the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP). The Attorney General of California’s office joined WOEIP’s suit last August.

The litigation had alleged that the port didn’t adequately evaluate and mitigate the terminal’s air pollution impacts when it approved the terminal in 2022. The new agreement allows bulk shipping of sand and gravel ​for​ the concrete industry while ensuring that the bulk shipping operation at the port prioritizes “sustainable, community-conscious development,” according to the port.

The marine bulk terminal, which is under a 12-year lease expected to expire June 30, 2035, would occupy about 18 acres of land at Berths 20-22 and three acres of water at Berth 22 for ship operations.

The lawsuit had alleged that the port didn’t adequately evaluate and mitigate the terminal’s air pollution impacts.

The agreement calls for enhanced measures to curb potential impact​s​ from the terminal, including shore power use to lower bulk vessel emissions; hastening the use of onsite all-electric or other zero-emissions equipment; and building at-berth power outlets to expand zero-emissions capabilities.

Also in the agreement is a mandate for regular reports to make sure that there’s community compliance oversight on terminal operations.

“For 25 years, (the) West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project has fought to reduce the deadly impacts of emissions from the freight industry​ at and around the port​​,” WOEIP Co-Director Margaret Gordon said.

“This settlement is another step in the right direction to protect the health and well-being of the people ‘just across the freeway’ from the port,” she continued. “We look to the Port Board of Commissioners to be diligent in protecting our community from harm when considering future port expansion projects.”

Once operational, the bulk marine terminal is expected to move as much as 2.5 million imported tons of high-quality washed concrete sand and aggregates annually, according to the port.

By Karen Robes Meeks