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Oakland seeks dismissal of suit over proposed coal export terminal

In the latest round of an ongoing legal battle over a proposed coal export terminal in Oakland, Calif., the city has asked a federal judge to dismiss a breach of contract lawsuit filed by the developer.

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously in June to prohibit the storage and handling of coal at the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal, a multicommodity port planned for the site of the former Oakland Army Base.

OBOT sued the city in December 2016, claiming the ban violates the company's contractual rights under the development agreement between the city and OBOT.

In its motion to dismiss, filed Jan. 30, the city argues that under California law, OBOT never had a vested right to use the terminal for coal transportation.

"The DA did not expressly provide a vested right to store or handle coal or coke at the Terminal, nor any vested right to be free of further health and safety regulations of the type at issue," the motion says. "This silence establishes that OBOT never acquired such a vested right."

The motion also says OBOT's suit is invalid because it was filed after the state's 90-day limit for challenging a local government's land use decision.

A spokesman for Phil Tagami declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. Tagami is president and CEO of California Capital and Investment Group, which is leading the development of the port and is a corporate member of OBOT.

The city did not respond to a request for comment.