Ken Gibson 
Member since May 13, 2015


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Recent Comments

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

It is amazing that in such a political year the people of Utah are allowing themselves to be bamboozled. The Utah end of this deal is as crooked as a summer day is long. At this end, it is appalling that Phil Tagami would get involved in this fiasco.

If Asian countries are importing less natural gas from nearby Australia, than expected, Russia has more natural gas than Europe wants to buy and China is cutting back on coal production and burning so that people in Beijing can keep breathing, who will buy this coal. The only winners in this deal will be the investment bankers selling the Utah bonds. People, don't you get it?

Posted by Ken Gibson on 03/19/2016 at 5:37 PM

Re: “Buying Support for Coal

The idea of novel technology to move coal seamlessly from covered hopper cars to the holds of ship comes with the requirement of automation. Moving coal from train to ship hasn't required much labor siince the invention of the steam shovel. This "dream" technology would take a further bite out of labor.

The conflicts of interest - now laid bare at both ends of this track - four Utah Counties at one end and West Oakland at our end - explain why there is "excitement" about coal. The only excitement should be negative on this deal.

Somebody, please start a petition to boycott the Bank of Montreal unless....

Posted by Ken Gibson on 09/22/2015 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Banking on Coal in Oakland

There is no doubt that the transportation of coal in open top hopper cars results in the emission of coal dust from the top of the car. The vibration of the car causes chunks of coal rubbing against each other to produce dust throughout the load - constantly. I'm not familiar with the transport of coal in covered hoppers.

Once the coal arrives at the port facility it must be transferred from the railcars to the ocean vessels. Typically this would involve dropping the coal from the bottom of the hopper cars, through the track structure onto a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt would elevate the load as it moves to the next of a series of such belts to the opening over a hold of the ship. Each time the coal is dropped from the hopper car to the belt, between belts and into the hold of the ship coal dust is generated and released into the air.

In my view it is highly unlikely that any system of covers and collectors will prevent this dust from escaping.

An alternative approach would be to grind the coal up at mine mouth and transfer the coal powder pneumatically into fully enclosed rail cars. The cars would then be pneumatically unloaded and the coal powder pneumatically transferred to the ship hold.

During transit by rail there might be minimal escape of dust using this method. Such pneumatic systems can be used for flour and similar commodities. However, one can observe flour dust all around the pneumatic equipment at loading and off-loading facilities.

Such a system would be expensive at the mine and at all trans-shipment points. Moreover, the facility that will use the coal needs to be equipped to manage and use powdered coal.

Hopefully, these impediments will insure that Utah and other landscapes avoid the aesthetic cost of coal mining while Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond residents avoid further elevation of the local asthma rate.

Posted by Ken Gibson on 09/22/2015 at 2:50 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

Not sure what commenter Cohen means by "indigenous population" in this context.
Reports on some of the "demonstrations" indicated that arrested vandals were often not residents of Oakland or even of Alameda County.

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ken Gibson on 05/27/2015 at 11:22 PM

Re: “Schaaf Fails Her First Big Test

The description of the public demonstrations policy that I read in another paper indicated that demonstrations after dark that ventured into streets as opposed to staying on sidewalks had to be subject to a premitting process. If anything, this seems too permissive to me. Streets should not be blocked randomly, day or night to communicate feelings about an issue. Frank Ogawa Plaza should be used as a place for public discourse - available to any speaker whenever the podium has not been reserved in advance. A reservation there should only require a 24 hour advance request and no fee. Voice (or other) amplification might need to be regulated. Overnight group protests should be subject to paying the costs of portable toilets and clean-up.
The Constitution makes no provision for political speech by masked persons (corporations might also be considered masked persons). Except for persons under 16 on Halloween, masked persons in public spaces should be treated with suspicion and be subject to search and identification. We should be able to easily identify people who break windows in our City.
When I see demonstrators roaming around in masks I think of the Klu Klux Klan! I would not want to demonstrate alond side them.
What the mayor has proposed seems quite reasonable and likely within the bounds of laws currently on the books.

30 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Ken Gibson on 05/27/2015 at 5:19 PM

Re: “No, Governor Brown, You Shut Up

Counties and municipalities need to protect themselves wherever possible from risks the state of Governor Brown seems determined to take. Counties should block the construction of access points from roads to construction sites for the big dig tunnels. Counties should disallow drilling as a permitted use in agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential areas, and also ban road access for countless loads of drilling equipment, mud and product.
Finally, counties and municipalities should put a halt to any expansion of the natural gas pipeline system in residential and commercial neighborhoods. We need to find ways to cook and heat without adding to the infrastructure of the most explosive and most potent greenhouse gas.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ken Gibson on 05/13/2015 at 5:06 PM

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