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City Council Postpones Opening of Coal Facility

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At the behest of about 250 longshore workers who crowded a City Hall meeting room, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to postpone the opening of a coal storage and shipping facility at Terminal Island until concerns about dust and emissions are addressed.

A local union of longshore workers protested on the steps of City Hall, saying the dust from the coal storage and shipping operation is expected to create health problems for harbor workers.

At the union’s request, the council adopted a motion by Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. to delay opening of the facility until the safety concerns are reviewed by fire and environmental officials. Svorinich represents the area.

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The $130-million Los Angeles Export Terminal is scheduled to begin exporting coal to Asia in the fall to fuel power plants and steel factories.

The facility is owned by a group of American and Japanese firms, and the city of Los Angeles is a 13% shareholder in the project.

But officials close to the negotiations say part of the union’s opposition to the facility is that the coal storage operation does not use union workers.

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