SCIG Rail Yard Protestors to Go on Hunger Strike; Protest in Front of Villaraigosa’s Home

Exemplifying a non-violent path to protest the proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) project, The Los Angeles Port Working Group–a collaborative of community health and environment organizations– decided to go on a 24-hour hunger strike and  all-day vigil in front Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s home.

Flier advertising hunger strike. Photo courtesy of the East Yards Community for Environment Justice. Click on the image for a larger version.

After the controversial project’s FEIR was unanimously approved by the Port of L.A.’s Board of Harbor Commissioners–and subsequently formally appealed by the city of Long Beach and multiple community groups–many within the Long Beach communities near the project felt dejected. For despite thousands of comments raising concerns about air quality, noise pollution, increased traffic, and a decrease in living standards, along with a host of evidence from opposing groups pointing out multiple holes in the EIR, it still sailed through with flying colors.

It now faces the Los Angeles City Council for a final vote–and the hundred -plus people slated to partake in the hunger strike hope it will command Villaraigosa to stop what they call an “environmentally racist land-use project that threatens [our] health and well-being.”

“The decision to do this hunger strike was to show the seriousness of this project,” said Kat Madrigal of the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. “We can go days without eating, but cannot survive more than a few minutes without breathing.”

And Villaraigosa is, at least over the individual councilmembers, a particular target for the group since they feel he had a staunchly clear role in moving the project forward via his appointment of the harbor commissioners–who cast their supportive votes under his direction.

“He has orchestrated this project yet has avoided addressing the SCIG in public,” continued Madrigal. “With his leadership, we could have worked together and prevented the development of an unjust toxic rail project that will disproportionately impact low-income communities of color.”

Beginning at 7:30 am this Friday, the starving protestors will camp in front of Villaraigosa’s home 605 South Irving Boulevard and hold a candlelight vigil come 7PM. If asked to leave, organizers stated they will migrate to City Hall.

  • NG

    What are the opponents alternative?

  • Anonymous

    Who was there first? My guess is the railroad…

    I don’t think it is fair to call this project “racist”. I don’t think anyone involved was actively looking for a site that would disproportionately affect poor communities.

  • The SCIG project may not be perfect, but it is a whole lot better than what we have now. Some mitigation that is not all that expensive can solve most of the stated problems. I live within a mile of the SCIG site and the 405/710 noise an pollution is much more of a problem than SCIG at its worst will create. Lest spend our effort to improve SCIG and support it, not try to stop it.

  • There is an alternative that is far superior to SCIG yet does no harm to the railroads’ interests, while alleviating more freeway truck traffic than SCIG would. Take a look at GRID (“Green Rail, Intelligent Development”), which has been buidling up momentum for several years now:

  • Richard, what do the railroads think of the “Grid Loading” design? Of coarse on dock Vs near dock is more idea. But there must be a reason why the railroads are only loading a small percentage of containers at the dock. There does have to be some sorting of containers on to trains that are all bound for different destinations. With the Alameda and Alameda East corridors there no reason to ever expand the 710 for additional truck lanes. Most containers need to be on trains soon, not on the 710.

  • Anonymous

    Anybody have a capital cost for GRID? I can’t seem to find anything. (Or, if anyone can explain to me how to read the financials pdf on their website, I would appreciate it.)

  • Who remembers when the ICTF was proposed? After it came to fruition, they broke their promise to the residents of West Long Beach. Noise round the clock, light pollution, air pollution etc. How can we make sure SCIG will listen to community concerns. I grew up in the area and don’t want my nieces and nephews to deal with what I had to grow up with.

    Diesel is still dirty.. Go 100% no emissions or on dock.


Long Beach City Council Unanimously Approves Lawsuit Against City of Los Angeles over Proposed SCIG Rail Yard

In closed-session meeting yesterday evening, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted 9-0 to pursue litigation against the City of Los Angeles for its recent approval of the BNSF-led Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) railyard. The move was not shocking by any means. The city had already previously filed an unanimous appeal (with Councilmember Suja Lowenthal absent) […]