Judge rules against SCIG – a ‘breather’ for Long Beach residents


Back on Aug. 6, 2013, I wrote about a proposed new railyard project intended for the southern California twin-ports area of Los Angeles and Long Beach in “Legal challenge to proposed southern California-based rail yard project launched.”

Just to provide some background, I wrote: “In southern California … I understand that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is proposing to build an expansive intermodal rail terminal that, if built, would sit on Port of Los Angeles terra firma. The proposed project’s name: the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG).” The project had apparently been given the green light to move forward.

But there was a bit of a snag. A challenge in the form of a lawsuit was filed.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in a prepared statement wrote: “The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit today [June 7, 2013] in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Harbor residents living within the shadow of the largest development on Port of Los Angeles property in more than a decade. The Plaintiffs contend the proposed Southern California International Gateway rail yard project violates the California Environmental Quality Act and the state and federal Civil Rights Acts, and will increase cancer rates, chances of children developing asthma, and add to chronic air pollution plaguing the region.”

The NRDC further explained in the release that, “More than 40 percent of imported goods sold across the country are shipped through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Diesel pollution, the chief carcinogen associated with the SCIG project, is known to cause chronic and lethal respiratory diseases in children and elderly residents. Asthma rates among Long Beach children are the highest in the region, with an estimated 15 percent of Long Beach children suffering from asthma, compared to 8 percent overall for Los Angeles County.”

On the lawsuit development front, in “Judge Backs City of Long Beach in Rail Yard Project Suit; Port of LA & BNSF Sent Back to Drawing Board,” what staff at Longbeachize reported was that the judge presiding over the case – Superior Court Judge Barry P. Goode – found in the plaintiff’s favor, essentially ruling that the project environmental analysis performed was inadequate.

What this means is that, until such time, presumably, that an “adequate” SCIG environmental analysis is performed, the project is, effectively, on hold.

Expect more to surface on this matter in the weeks, months – if not years – ahead.


– Alan Kandel