Judge Backs City of Long Beach in Rail Yard Project Suit; Port of LA & BNSF Sent Back to Drawing Board
When our former editor Brian Addison first joined the Streetsblog team (parent of Longbeachize), one of his first pieces he wrote openly criticized a rail yard project dubbed the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) that was to be built in West Long Beach by rail giant BNSF.
Not only was the 153-acre project massively detrimental to the overall health of the Westside, it was at first widely endorsed. In fact, Long Beach’s main paper of record, the Press-Telegram, endorsed the project in what Addison called “a sadly misunderstood and ill-grounded editorial”—and in turn, he became one of many leaders of the anti-SCIG as well as the first journalist to bring to question the project. He wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more.
“It is very hard for me intellectually to accept that you value the life of a kid on this side of the city border more than you do a kid in my city.” – Former Mayor Bob Foster
In what is nothing short of spectacularly large news, the City of Long Beach—which filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles after the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) Harbor Commissioners and the LA City Council unanimously approved the project—has had Superior Court Judge Barry P. Goode rule in favor of the stance that SCIG “failed to perform adequate environmental analysis before approving the massive SCIG rail yard project adjacent to many residents and businesses located in West Long Beach.”
The ruling requires that POLA complete a new EIR to reduce the negative impacts from the project. BNSF persistently claimed, despite direct proof in their own EIR, that the SCIG project would actually benefit West Long Beach residents. As more and more evidence came to light through the work of 20-plus nonprofit and community groups, as well as Addison’s work that showed the contrary, outrage ensued.
Then-Mayor Bob Foster was outright vitriolic in his outspokenness against the project, with one of his quotes–“It is very hard for me intellectually to accept that you value the life of a kid on this side of the city border more than you do a kid in my city”–finding itself on every major newspaper in the country, even on the pages of the New York Times. Read more…