Port of Oakland again at odds with neighbors

A proposed open air rock and gravel year near the Bay Bridge ports has raised concerns around pollution.

The new rock and gravel site would involve a bunch of trucks and ships. The yard, exposed to Bay winds, would have uncovered rock, gravel and other materials.

Opponents say shifting such materials, in an open air environment, guarantees too much dust.

"Why are they not building a silo or storage container to cover it? They won't even cover it. They want to water it down and there is no air monitor at the facility," said Margaret Gordon of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. 

"And dust control, they call it particulate matter in our air, is one of the primary health impacts in West Oakland," added co-member and resident Brian Beveridge. 

Bill Aboudi's trucking company sits on port land very close to the proposed open air rock gravel yard.

"From the Bay, the wind blows and it's going to blow straight into our site and into the community," said Aboudi.

Several other Bay ports already deal in this type of non-containerized bulk cargo. The currently occupied space will have to be cleared for the yard and its operations.

"This has been a staging area for trucking companies to stage the containers and also truck parking which, around Oakland, is impossible to get," said Aboudi.

Moving those trucks over to the Howard Terminal might be short-lived if a ballpark is built.

Due to an absence of shore power at the proposed rock and gravel site, diesel ships at the terminal would have idle spewing pollutants say West Oakland opponents.

"That's the worst type of fuel that you could use. It's bunker fuel," said Aboudi. 

"The port says sometime in the next six or 10 years, they'll look at getting the ships plugged in," said Beveridge.

West Oakland already suffers higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer and premature death than areas a couple miles from the port.