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.
State Senator Mike McGuire calls this development “one of the largest environmental threats to hit the North Coast in decades.”
On Aug. 16, a mysterious, newly formed corporation called North Coast Railroad Company, LLC, filed a pleading with the Surface Transportation Board. Ostensibly a proposal to submit an “Offer of Financial Assistance” to rebuild the line, the filing makes a number of surprising claims. 
First District Supervisor Rex Bohn said he met with some of the interested parties. About six months ago, he had dinner with a group of people who said they were interested in restoring the rail line. The group included Utah State Senator David Hinkins.
“They had some Native Americans they were partnering up with,” Bohn said. “I know that they met with the Wiyots quite a bit. They were talking about just opening the rail line. … They thought it’s usable. They had some freight ideas that they could get out of here.”
Asked if they identified what type of freight they intended to ship, Bohn said, “They held it pretty close to the chest, I thought. Rightly so.”
Told that McGuire and Huffman had identified the interested parties as coal companies, Bohn said, “They did talk about clean coal cars, you know, completely covered, completely domed and everything.”
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