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Port of Los Angeles to vote on whether to approve the SCIG Rail Yard Project

Morgan Wyenn

Posted March 6, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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Tomorrow, March 7, the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Los Angeles—the busiest container port in the country—is going to vote on whether or not it will  build a new rail yard in a neighborhood that suffers from extreme environmental burdens already.  The rail yard would be called the Southern California International Gateway (the SCIG) and it would be operated by railroad giant the BNSF Railway Co. 

This proposal is extremely controversial, and is widely understood to be one of the most racist ideas proposed by the City for decades.  The main issue is that it would bring harmful, asthma- and cancer-causing air pollution into a low-income residential neighborhood already suffering from elevated air pollution levels.  The rail yard would be located in the worst possible location: directly adjacent to an elementary school, a high school, a day care center, a park, and a center for homeless children, and extremely close to residential neighborhoods.  The Port performed an environmental analysis that concluded that the rail yard would improve the region’s air quality, but we have combed through their analysis and see clearly that their analysis is full of holes and incorrect assumptions.  This project would make the area’s air pollution worse, not better.

The rail yard would be a hub for thousands of diesel trucks and trains spewing harmful air pollution.  It would be very noisy and would increase the number of diesel-spewing trucks in the area.  The Port’s own analysis admits that the rail yard would disproportionately affect the minority communities nearby.

We have worked alongside community, environmental justice, and public health organizations for years, asking that this project be located on-dock at the port, rather than so close to communities that already face dangerously high levels of air pollution from port operations, nearby refineries, and highways packed with diesel trucks.  We hope that the Harbor Commission tomorrow will stand up for the community and common sense and reject this poorly conceived project. 

We will be there tomorrow, asking the Board of Harbor Commissioners to abandon this toxic project.  If you want to join us, here are the details:

8:30 AM, Thursday, March 7

Port of Los Angeles Cruise Annex Building

Rear Berth 92

San Pedro, CA 90731

For more info, check out: http://www.portoflosangeles.org/Board/2013/March%202013/03_07_13_Special_Agenda.asp

To read our other blog posts about the SCIG, check out:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwyenn/long_beach_councilmember_johns.html

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwyenn/community_members_speak_out_ag.html

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwyenn/los_angeles_community_asks_war.html

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwyenn/fighting_for_clean_air_communi.html

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lhenao/a_wolf_in_sheeps_clothing_bnsf.html

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About

Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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