Legislation introduced to stop shadowy bid to ship coal out of Humboldt Bay
In early September, the Lost Coast Outpost posted an article titled “Aiming to Ship Coal Out of Humboldt Bay, Shadowy Corporation Makes Bid to Take Over NCRA Line,” reporting that “Unidentified coal companies appear to be behind a new backdoor effort to acquire the North Coast Railroad Authority’s right-of-way between Eureka and Willits and rehabilitate the defunct railroad, all so they can export coal to Asian markets via the Port of Humboldt Bay.”
This morning, California State Senator Mike McGuire posted a press release describing a bill, SB 307, to put a nail in that coffin. Here is the full text of the press release, which can be found on Senator McGuire’s official website:
McGuire introduces bill to help stop toxic coal train proposal
Legislation will help protect the North Coast from dangerous environmental threatNorth Coast, CA – Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation today to stop one of the largest environmental threats the North Coast has seen in decades — a proposal from a secret, clandestine operation, hiding behind an anonymous LLC out of Wyoming, that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt.
The shadowy rail operation would utilize a portion of the now defunct North Coast rail route, which runs approximately 320 miles between Marin and Humboldt counties. The coal would then be loaded onto ships in Humboldt Bay, sold overseas, and burned.
Senator McGuire’s SB 307, which was introduced last week, would help stop that proposal, or anything like it in the future, in its tracks.
“This toxic coal train would run through the heart of so many thriving communities and along the Russian and Eel Rivers, which are the main source of drinking water for nearly one million residents,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “This dangerous proposal must be stopped, which is why we have introduced SB 307. This critical bill will ban any state funding from being invested to improve the rail line for coal shipments north of Willits and it bans any state funding to buildout a potential coal storage terminal at the Port of Humboldt. No way, no how are we going to let this happen.”
The secrecy behind the toxic coal train is completely offensive, as well as the fact these bad actors have met behind closed doors with some local officials to try and make this toxic dream a reality. This anonymous group has also filed a request to kill the build out of the Great Redwood Trail. The Trail, which will be the longest contiguous rail-trail in America, would stretch from the bustling waters of San Francisco Bay to the fog-shrouded redwood shores of Humboldt Bay.
SB 307 explicitly states that state money can not be spent to initiate, improve or operate rail service on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of the City of Willits. Further, it bans state money from being spent on the buildout of any new bulk coal terminal facilities within the County of Humboldt.
In addition, Senator McGuire has made significant progress on the Great Redwood Trail. SB 69, which was approved in the Assembly by a vote of 71-0 and then in the Senate by 38-0, will close down the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) once and for all, and transfer their property and rights to the Great Redwood Trail Agency and to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART).
The Great Redwood Trail will meander through ancient redwoods, state and national wildlands, oak-studded golden hills and along our incredible rivers. The Trail will also be an economic driver for the dozens of rural communities it runs through.
“Coal is the dirtiest and most damaging source of energy out there. It’s the number one cause of global warming and it’s the number one contributor to our climate crisis. The people of the North Coast won’t stand for this. We rallied against Big Oil to protect our coast from offshore drilling – and won. And we will win this fight against Big Coal,” Senator Mike McGuire said.
No Coal in Oakland will stand with our Northern California allies to oppose this outrageous — and probably infeasible — project from moving forward.
Image credit: office of California State Senator Mike McGuire, via the Lost Coast Outpost