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Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, LLC v. City of Oakland

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20080
Nos. 16-cv-07014, (N.D. Cal., 05/15/2018) (Chhabria)

A district court held that a city council breached a development agreement for a proposed export terminal when it passed an ordinance that banned coal operations at "bulk materials facilities" as well as a resolution that applied the ban to the proposed terminal. The development agreement froze in place local regulations that existed at the time the agreement was signed. But any regulation that postdates the agreement could be applied to the terminal if the city determines that the failure to apply the new regulation would pose a "substantial danger" to the health or safety of people. Any such determination by the city must be supported by "substantial evidence." Here, the record before the city council does not contain enough evidence to support its conclusion that the proposed coal operations would pose a substantial danger. In fact, the court wrote that the record was "riddled with inaccuracies, major evidentiary gaps, erroneous assumptions, and faulty analyses." As such, the resolution violates the agreement and the city may not rely on it to restrict coal operations at the terminal.