Huffman Statement on STB’s Decision to Deny Toxic Coal Train

June 10, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement regarding the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) decision to deny the North Coast Railroad Company’s application. 

“We just received great news from the Surface Transportation Board: the scheme by a shadowy out-of-state LLC to revive an abandoned rail line through the Eel River canyon and start exporting coal to Asia has been rejected. After months of secretive business dealings, late filings, and a firestorm of local opposition, I’m glad to report that the toxic coal train is for all intents and purposes dead," said Rep. Huffman. “When we first learned of this outrageous scheme, I promised my constituents that I would make sure it never sees the light of day – and I have worked hard on multiple fronts, including with local colleagues like State Senator Mike McGuire, to keep that promise. North Coast residents can breathe easier today, knowing that the toxic coal train proposal has been rejected and the Great Redwood Trail is one more step closer to reality. If the shadowy polluters promoting the coal train try to somehow revive their scheme, rest assured we will remain vigilant to make sure this climate zombie stays dead."   

Rep. Huffman, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB)’s Chief of Section Cynthia T. Brown in support of the Great American Trail railbank and in opposition to other entities who filed interest in taking over the line.    

In May, Rep. Huffman questioned Surface Transportation Board Chair Martin Oberman about his views on board reauthorizations during a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing. Rep. Huffman’s line of questioning can be viewed here, and the full committee hearing can be viewed here. In September of 2021, Huffman and Rep. Mike Thompson (D- St. Helena) sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging him to deny federal funding for the coal train.