• ITVI.USA
    16,014.360
    14.660
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.006
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.430
    0.240
    1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,995.600
    10.280
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.930
    -0.020
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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    0.010
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.330
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.570
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.390
    0.070
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.130
    0.020
    0.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    16,014.360
    14.660
    0.1%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.006
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.430
    0.240
    1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,995.600
    10.280
    0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.930
    -0.020
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.620
    0.010
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.330
    -0.040
    -2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.570
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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    0.070
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.130
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    0.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperIntermodalShippingWarehouse

BNSF, Port of Los Angeles appeal court decision that rejects proposed $500m rail yard

The Fort Worth, Texas-based railway and the Port of Los Angeles are appealing a judgment that halted plans by the railroad to build the Southern California Intermodal Gateway.

    Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) said it is appealing the ruling in the lawsuit challenging an environmental impact statement for a $500 million intermodal rail yard it wants to build in Los Angeles.
   The plan was opposed by the neighboring city of Long Beach and several community groups in Wilmington and West Long Beach near the proposed proposed BNSF Southern California International Gateway (SCIG). Building the terminal would eliminate millions of truck miles from the nearby I-710 freeway, BNSF said.
   The appeal, to California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District seeks to overturn the decision that was made by Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Barry P. Goode in March who found the railroad and port failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of the terminal.
   The Port of Los Angeles is joining BNSF in appealing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) ruling.
    “The SCIG Project is vitally important to improve the efficiency of the entire San Pedro Bay Ports complex, the Alameda Corridor and the region,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “The Port of Los Angeles prepared an environmental impact report that we strongly believe fully met all requirements of CEQA to inform the public and decision-makers of the project’s effects. For these reasons, the Port of Los Angeles is joining BNSF in appealing the CEQA ruling.”
   Roger Nober, executive vice president law and corporate affairs and chief legal officer for BNSF explained the basis of the appeal by saying the railroad “is very concerned about the decision’s application of what BNSF believes is an incorrect and unprecedented expansion of the scope of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review to encompass existing facilities distant and distinct from the SCIG project itself, and the precedential effect that ruling may have on the development of other rail facilities, port projects and other much-needed infrastructure in California.”
   He added that “BNSF appreciates the strong support of the Port of Los Angeles throughout this process and thanks port leadership and staff for their partnership and collaboration as we’ve worked together for more than a decade to try and bring this project to fruition.
   “Unless this ruling is promptly and entirely reversed, building SCIG is less likely due to the costs and delay brought on by the CEQA lawsuits,” said Nober. “BNSF is committed to its customers and will continue to provide world-class service without SCIG. This ruling is a loss for the region and it sends a strong message that green investment is unwelcome in California. The community and broader region won’t benefit from the traffic reductions, air quality improvements and good jobs SCIG would have brought.”
   BNSF Railway proposed to build a new, state-of-the-art intermodal railyard facility to load cargo onto trains from both the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach at the location four miles away from the docks instead of trucking it to BNSF’s East Los Angeles Hobart Facility 24 miles up the 710 Freeway. The project would replace an existing drayage and warehouse operation on the site and the port said it would eliminate over a million truck trips a year between the ports and the Hobart railyard east of downtown LA.
    The Port of Los Angeles said it “spent eight years and a great degree of care preparing the SCIG Environmental Impact Report, which was 5,000 pages of analysis and backed by extensive expert studies. On March 30, the Court ruled on challenges to the SCIG EIR, stating in its opinion: ‘The EIR is an impressive piece of work. It is clear that a great deal of careful thought has been given to the environmental impacts of the project.’ The Court reviewed dozens of issues raised by petitioners and validated much of the SCIG EIR’s analysis as complying with CEQA. Nevertheless, the court concluded that certain specific areas required additional analysis.”
      Meanwhile, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia told the Long Beach Press Telegram that he was not surprised by the appeal but expressed how he was hopeful the parties could negotiate while the appeal moves forward.

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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