Surface Transportation Board rejects project that threatened Great Redwood Coast Trail

By Ryan Burns, Lost Coast Outpost, June 10, 2022

“After months of behind-the-scenes scheming and closed-door meetings with powerful interests, a shadowy corporation’s bid to export coal out of Humboldt Bay got unceremoniously shot down [on June 10] by the [federal] Surface Transportation Board.

“The apparent idea [proposed by the North Coast Railroad Co. LLC, which was formed last year,] was to export coal from the Powder River Basin via rail through the Bay Area, up the Eel River Canyon, and onto ships in the Port of Humboldt for transport to Asian markets.

“The scheme threatened the future of The Great Redwood Trail, a state-backed endeavor to convert the former North Coast Railroad Authority’s right-of-way into a multi-use rail-to-trail project connecting San Francisco and Humboldt bays.

“[T]he agency did not reject a notice from Mendocino Railway, operator of the Skunk Train, which has proposed taking over a 13-mile stretch of line from the Willits area to a spot near Dos Rios, ostensibly to ship gravel. The Great Redwood Trail Agency… has questioned Mendocino Railway’s financial fitness for such an endeavor.

“As for the North Coast Railroad Co. and its coal train ambitions, [Alicia Hamann, executive director of environmental nonprofit Friends of the Eel River] said she thinks the company is highly unlikely to appeal the decision.”

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