Oakland airport expansion proposal faces criticism

A proposal to add a third terminal to Oakland International Airport sparked a protest by environmentalists on Tuesday who predict it would contribute to climate change and increase pollution.

A new terminal would add as many 16 more gates to the airport. It would be the first major expansion in 40 years at OAK.

Travel forecasts say that an additional 24 million passengers will be in the region by 2038, according to an airport spokesperson. 

The Oakland airport hopes to attract some of those travelers who primarily head to San Francisco International Airport.

"What's important is the Port of Oakland which owns and operates the airport has prioritized sustainability in the development all along the way of this proposed airport project," said Marilyn Sandifer, a spokesperson for the port. "The thing is that whether we build it or not, we know the 24 million people are coming so we really want to upgrade the facilities so that we can meet those needs."

Officials have been exploring a name change for the airport, saying that many people around the country are not familiar with Oakland's place in the Bay Area.

The protest was held Tuesday evening near the airport before a public hearing on the proposal.

A second hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30 and the port is accepting community feedback until Sept. 15.