Levin-Richmond Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor

Levin-Richmond Terminal is a dry bulk cargo marine terminal on the San Francisco Bay in Richmond, California, United States.

The terminal is privately owned by the Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation.[1] Along with the Port of Stockton and the Port of Long Beach, it is one of only three currently operating coal terminals on the US West Coast.[2]


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Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation began exporting coal in 2013. It had already been exporting petcoke for decades. The petcoke comes from the Phillips66 refinery to load onto boats headed for Australia and Europe.[3]

In June 2013 Arch Coal sold its Utah coal mines to Bowie Resources. Bowie said it had agreed to ship 2.1 million short tons (approximately 1.9 million metric tons) of coal through the Port of Stockton, and had been in negotiations with Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation for the port of Richmond, which would provide Bowie with annual “topping off” capacity of an additional 1 million short tons per annum (approximately 0.91 million metric tonnes). Bowie also has mines in Colorado.[4] In 2018, Bowie Resources renamed itself Wolverine Fuels LLC.[5]

In 2014, Richmond exported 1 million short tons of coal and petcoke combined. Most coal exports are to Japan and Mexico.[3] In 2019, the port exported 738,000 short tons of coal, up from 120,000 short tons in 2016.[6]

Public opposition

In 2012 San Francisco Baykeeper sued the Levin-Richmond Terminal over its handling of petcoke, saying coal dust was blowing into the water in violation of the Clean Water Act. Admitting no wrongdoing, the company settled the lawsuit in 2014; the terminal operator agreed to enclose the conveyor system it used to load the ships and to stop loading when the wind is too strong. According to KQED: "Nothing has been done, however, to address potential health problems related to airborne particles from the piles of coal and petcoke, or from the rail cars that transport the coal." The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is expected to begin parsing new regulations on coal and petcoke dust in late 2015.[3]

In May 2015, the Richmond City Council passed a resolution opposing the mining, export, and burning of coal, as well as the transport of coal and petcoke along waterways and through densely populated areas. Oakland and San Francisco passed similar resolutions banning the transport of coal and pet coke in their cities.[7]

In February 2020, the Richmond City Council passed an even stronger resolution to phase out the storage and handling of coal and petcoke over three years.[8][6] Three separate lawsuits were filed against Richmond in response to the ban: one from the terminal operator, one from Phillips66, which uses the terminal for petcoke export, and one from Wolverine Fuels, the Utah mining company that had been exporting its coal to Japan via the Levin-Richmond Terminal for the last several years. The lawsuits allege that since so few West Coast ports are willing to traffic coal, without the Levin-Richmond terminal, the companies will have to ship coal through Mexico, or possibly go out of business.[9][10]

In January 2021, the state of Utah joined Wolverine Fuels' lawsuit against Richmond. “This is a slander on Utah,” noted Utah state Senator David Hinkins (R-Orangeville). “If they stop coal, then what’ll they stop next? We could stop California’s oranges going through Utah.”[10]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Wolverine Fuels (formerly Bowie Resources)
  • Location: Richmond, California
  • Coal Capacity (Million metric tonnes per annum): 0.91
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Exports (Japan and Mexico)
  • Coal Source: Utah, Colorado

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