Marin supervisors voiced their opposition last week to the efforts of a shadowy company that aims to run coal trains along the north coast.
Supervisors Damon Connolly and Dennis Rodoni introduced a resolution to formally rebuke a request by North Coast Railroad Company, a new Wyoming-based corporation, to rehabilitate a disused stretch of railroad that it plans to use to move coal mined in the mountain states to Humboldt Bay. In doing so, the supervisors reiterated their support for the proposed Great Redwood Trail, which would convert the same right-of-way into a 320-mile hiking trail connecting San Francisco and Humboldt Bays.
North Coast Rail Company filed paperwork with the federal government objecting to the trail conversion, along with plans to purchase the right-of-way between Willits and Eureka. The coal trains would load up in Wyoming, Montana and Utah, and run through a section of Marin near Novato before continuing north to Humboldt Bay, where the coal would be shipped to ports in Asia. The corporation “seeks to subvert the goals of the Great Redwood Trail which are to preserve and protect our natural environment,” Supervisor Conolly told the board last week.
“Instead they seek to contribute to an ecological crisis.” Supervisor Rodoni said the board’s resolution was “consistent with our other board policies related to banning offshore oil drilling, banning onshore oil production facilities and supporting clean fuels.”
The Environmental Action Committee of West Marin was involved in pushing supervisors to oppose the coal train, and Ashley Eagle-Gibbs, the group’s conservation director, thanked supervisors for their vote last week. “We all have to be looking toward renewable energy solutions as well as drawing down greenhouse gases as we face this unprecedented climate crisis,” she said.
The supervisors follow an array of other California leaders in their condemnation of the coal train plan. Last week, Rep. Jared Huffman called on transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg to deny the railroad company’s objection.