The City Council of Oakland, California has voted unanimously to block a new terminal that would have created jobs for residents.
But the terminal project was not pure enough for the City Council: it would have carried coal mined in Utah through Oakland to Asian markets.
The prospect of train cars carrying millions of tons of coal mined in Utah through Oakland before heading to Asian markets has inflamed passions in the city.
Opponents argue it will harm health and exacerbate climate change. Proponents say it will provide good jobs in an impoverished area.
“Oaklanders know it’s a false choice to say we have to pick between jobs and this community’s health and safety,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a leading opponent to the shipments, said before the vote.
No, Mayor Schaff, the council did pick purity over jobs (even though the community's health and safety would not have been compromised by having the coal shipments go through the proposed terminal–ideology was at work here).
Hot Air has an impressive post on the matter:
The pointless nature of this bit of posturing once again raises the question of why the labor unions continue to support the Democrats so enthusiastically, as well as deepening the mystery of why the voters in general tolerate them. First of all, the space under discussion is an abandoned military base on the coast.
It’s currently a waste of space and a hole in the local tax revenue structure, serving little to no purpose. Having an active shipping terminal there would provide plenty of short term jobs for construction and then a long term source of steady middle class work. And since we’re talking about dockworkers, the Teamsters would undoubtedly get a huge piece of that action. But for the sake of appeasing the environmentalists, the city council is turning up their nose at it.
And to accomplish what? Much like the situation with TransCanada and the Keystone XL pipeline, that coal from Utah is not going to “stay in the ground.” Canada is already working on pipelines to the west and to the east to ship their product to Asia and Europe. The same goes for this energy supply.
There’s a market for it so it will be mined and exported somewhere. The only difference is that the jobs and all of the associated downstream benefits will go elsewhere and the citizens of Oakland can continue to enjoy the view of an empty military base sitting on their shores. Perhaps they can turn it into a bird sanctuary further down the line.
As the late William Tucker used to explain, most of the people who support these extreme measures belong to the environmentalist leisure class. They are often people who are not pressed to get a tacky old job.