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California coal terminal not a legitimate use of Utah millions, groups say

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah’s proposed $53 million investment in an Oakland, Calif., export terminal is a flagrant abuse of community-impact funds that not only violates federal and state law, but will also subsidize private coal mining corporations and out-of-state developers at the expense of Utah taxpayers and local governments.

That’s according to two separate petitions submitted to Attorney General Sean Reyes, asking him to invalidate a loan to four coal-producing counties to invest in a bulk-freight-loading seaport under development at the former Oakland Army Base. The loan was authorized by the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board (CIB).

“It’s taking taxpayer money that is supposed to be used for projects open to the public in Utah and sending it to a for-profit business in California,” said Ted Zukowski, a lawyer for Earthjustice. “It is violating the purpose of this fund, which is to make life better for the people in counties where they are pulling a lot of fossil fuel out of the ground.”

The CIB is funded by millions in federal royalties from mineral and energy development on Utah’s public lands. The CIB approved the loan in April with virtually no public involvement and no formal application from the counties.

More at the Salt Lake Tribune

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