Stop the Port of Oakland’s pollution-generating expansion

What's At Stake

The Port of Oakland and the Army Corps of Engineers want to allow more polluting megaships into the Bay Area — but the Army Corps conducted an inadequate environmental review that didn’t consider how the expansion would impact neighboring communities, particularly the environmental justice community of West Oakland. Tell the Army Corps that it must thoroughly study the impacts of its proposal on West Oakland residents and the surrounding region.

Additionally, the Army Corps is hosting a virtual public meeting May 10th, from 6-8 p.m. PT via Zoom. If you can, please attend and tell the Army Corps it needs to fully study the impacts of its proposal. Register to attend the virtual public meeting.

The Army Corps’ proposed project will widen the Turning Basins at the Port of Oakland to allow megaships more than 1,300 feet long — bigger than some of the tallest buildings in the U.S. — to dock at the Port. Right now, these vessels visit the Port very rarely — just once or twice a year. If this plan moves forward, it will invite dramatically more megaships into the region, heightening the demands on Port infrastructure and generating increased air and water pollution as well as worsening truck traffic in nearby communities.

This plan is unacceptable — the Port is already producing far too much pollution in the region, with acute impacts in West Oakland. In fact, West Oakland is one of the most pollution-burdened areas of the state, with elevated levels of diesel particulate matter, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and toxic air contaminants. Diesel emissions billowing from trucks, trains, equipment, and ships at the Port are contributing to an ongoing public health crisis in West Oakland and nearby communities.

Localized air pollution has serious consequences. 70% of West Oakland’s residents are people of color, and half of new childhood asthma cases in West Oakland are due to traffic-related air pollution, compared to about 20% of new childhood asthma cases in the nearby affluent and mostly White Oakland Hills neighborhood. Asthma hospitalizations for West Oakland residents are 88% higher than the Alameda County average, and heart disease deaths are 33% higher. These alarming statistics are the reason why California is already spending millions of dollars on emissions reductions pursuant to statewide air protection programs like AB 617. Allowing more megaships to visit the Port will further harm West Oakland and local communities along the freight corridor — and slow progress toward California’s goal of protecting communities that are disproportionately exposed to air pollution.

The Army Corps has a legal obligation to fully analyze the impacts of the expansion of the Turning Basins. It failed to analyze less harmful alternatives, to identify proper mitigation measures, or to identify data collection efforts that would reduce the impacts on the West Oakland community.

In 2023, we can’t allow the Army Corps to double down on a failed and harmful status quo. Tell the Army Corps to redo its analysis and produce a complete Environmental Impact Statement that properly analyzes the air quality and other impacts of a major port expansion.

The Oakland skyline, behind the Port of Oakland.
The Oakland skyline, behind the Port of Oakland. The Port is one of the largest container ship facilities on the West Coast. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

12 Days Remain

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