Inside Oakland coal’s lobbying effort

Last year’s Oakland City Council election provided supporters of the controversial proposal to ship coal through Oakland with a potential opportunity to find common ground with city officials. The November election ushered in three new members of the eight-person council: Nikki Fortunato Bas, Loren Taylor, and Sheng Thao. To honor those new members, the Oakland Builders Alliance held a January reception for them at downtown’s posh Rotunda Building.

The soiree represented an opportunity for Insight Terminal Solutions, the Utah company hoping to transport coal and its byproducts through the Oakland port terminal. At the party, company founder and CEO John Siegel spoke briefly with each of the new councilmembers, hoping to gain insights into where each member stood on the contentious issue. Siegel’s goal was to gauge whether an amicable solution could be reached in the dispute over whether to allow coal to be shipped through the $275 million Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal near the mouth of the Bay Bridge…

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