Guest Editorial to the Eureka Times Standard
by Donna Roper, Cindy Plank and Sharolyn Hutton, representing LWV of Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties
Dear Surface Transportation Board Members:

This is a joint letter from the League of Women Voters of Humboldt County, League of Women Voters of Mendocino County, and the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County in opposition to the transportation of coal through northern California and the bay area by train.

It has been widely reported and corroborated that the North Coast Rail Company LLC is intending to use the northern California railroad to transport coal mined in the Rocky Mountains and intends to transport this coal across the state of California to Marin County, and then haul it north through Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt counties to the port of Humboldt.

The League of Women Voters wishes to express our strong opposition to the request of North Coast Railroad Co., LLC (NCRCo) to oppose the North Coast Railroad Authority’s (NCRA) request for abandonment of certain sections of the long unused portions of the rail line from Willits to Humboldt County. Sections of the rail line have been rendered inoperable for safety reasons.

Given that the primary reason that the North Coast Railroad Co., LLC opposes this abandonment exemption is to allow the transport of coal to the Port of Humboldt Bay for transport to Asian markets, and that the burning of coal is a major contributor to global warming, it is unconscionable that we ship our coal to other countries to contribute to global warming.

Further, the railroad crosses environmentally sensitive areas, specifically two rivers that supply drinking water to thousands. The land along parts of the area is unstable and subject to landslides. A far better use of this abandoned rail bed is the further development of the Great Redwood Trail.

We urgently request that the STB deny the North Coast Railroad Co., LLC request to oppose North Coast Railroad Authority’s abandonment exemption.