A coalition of shipping industry groups, including port managers, trucking operators and the dockworkers’ union, is asking a California court to stop the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s plans to build a stadium in the city’s port.
The groups filed a lawsuit Friday night against the A’s, the City of Oakland, the City Council and the Port of Oakland for environmental reasons over a plan to provide the team with a new location that would keep them in the city. . The stadium would replace the A’s 56-year-old home with what the developers describe as a scenic site featuring accommodations, a hotel and retail stores on the Oakland waterfront.
Plans would place the stadium at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, pitting the team and fans seeking to keep the A’s from moving against shipping groups who say the effort would undermine a major economic driver for the city and take a valuable cargo space of a port overwhelmed by the influx of container volumes hitting US shores.
Union Pacific Corp.
joined the opposition effort with its own separate action against the project, the railroad said on Monday, over what it said were safety concerns related to the mixing of industrial operations with traffic that the sports and mixed-use site would attract.
The A’s have been looking for years to move out of the team’s cavernous, aging home, now called RingCentral Coliseum, and team officials have talked about taking the franchise elsewhere, including San Jose, Calif., and recently been in talks with Las Vegas.
Oakland A President David Kaval called the lawsuit “absolutely crazy.”
“This is another sign of how difficult it is to do business in California,” he said. “You have the biggest polluters in California suing us, using environmental law. It just shows you that the whole system is down.
Kaval said the team hopes to stay in Oakland but is also working with Nevada authorities on a potential stadium site in Las Vegas. “They’re kind of a ‘get to yes’ community,” he said.
Justin Berton, spokesman for the Oakland mayor’s office, said they expected the trial. “The city stands by the integrity of its process and analysis” which led the city council to certify an environmental impact report on the project, he said.
The terminal is no longer used to load and unload container ships, but the area is “heavily industrialized”, according to the suit, and the Howard Terminal site now handles overflow shipping containers from other terminals. It sits next to a steel recycling plant operated by Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc.,
who joined the pursuit, and an active rail yard operated by Union Pacific.
The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents shipping container lines and terminal operators, also joined the lawsuit; the International Longshore and Warehouse Union; and the Harbor Trucking Association, which represents truckers serving the harbour.
The groups say the city violated guidelines in its environmental impact report on the project, which would include a 35,000-seat stadium, retail and office space, new residences and a 400-room hotel.
The environmental review, the groups said, “fails to adequately analyze or mitigate the public safety risks and other impacts associated with increased vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic crossing the lanes. heavily used Union Pacific rail lines” and does not address the impact of an active baseball stadium next to port facilities with large cargo ships nearby.
Write to Paul Page at [email protected]
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