MFN members and others win suit against dirty BNSF railyard and protect community health

Photo: East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

This week a California Superior Court judge handed the community a huge victory when he ruled that the Environmental Impact Study for a huge BNSF Intermodal Railyard was flawed, reversed project approvals, and ordered a halt to construction-related activities.

His groundbreaking ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Moving Forward Network members East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), Coalition for a Safe Environment (CFASE), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), as well as the City of Long Beach, the school district, and others.

SCIG Map, Source: LA Streetsblog

The BNSF Southern California Intermodal Gateway (SCIG), which BNSF planned to locate next to residences, schools, and day care centers, was to handle 2.8 million containers of goods annually from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.  It would have generated over 2 million diesel truck trips a year and enormous levels of dangerous diesel exhaust pollution.

When he filed suit, David Pettit, senior NRDC attorney, said “The SCIG project typifies environmental racism. This project can be built away from where people live and children go to school, but the City of Los Angeles wants to put it in a low-income minority neighborhood because they think they can get away with it.”

 

The lawsuit followed years of effort by community and environmental organizations to convince BNSF not to increase their profits at the expense of residents’ health.

While the BNSF could have proposed to move freight from the ports to the SCIG using Zero and Near-Zero Emissions technology, they choose not to.  Will they learn from their defeat, and stop polluting neighborhoods and damaging people’s health, as the community has repeatedly demanded?

For more information, see the resources below:

News Articles

Court Rejects SCIG EIR, Random Lengths

Court deals setback to Port of L.A. rail yard planned near poor neighborhoods,  LA Times

Long Beach wins lawsuit over $500 million rail yard plan for Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Daily News

Southern California International Gateway Railyard Found to Have Faulty Environmental Impact Report, Long Beach Post

Judge Backs City of Long Beach in Rail Yard Project Suit; Port of LA & BNSF Sent Back to Drawing Board, Streetsblog LA

The Lawsuit

Superior Court of the State of California Opinion and Order

Southern California International Gateway Project Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Port of Los Angeles

Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Transportation

Sustainable Freight – Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Emissions, California Air Resources Board

MOVING CALIFORNIA FORWARD, Zero and Low-Emissions Freight Pathways, California Cleaner Freight Coalition

National Freight Pathways – Moving Toward a Cleaner System to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality, and Create Healthier Communities, NRDC

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