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Huffman and Thompson Pen Letter to Buttigieg Opposing Federal Loans for ‘Disastrous’ Coal Train Project | Lost Coast Outpost

By on September 29, 2021 0

Rep. Jared Huffman (left), U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (middle) and Rep. Mike Thompson. | Official photos.



Even before Outpost revealed that a secret society was trying to seize the grip of the North Coast Railroad Authority as part of an apparent plan to export coal to Asian markets via Humboldt Bay, state and government lawmakers Federal government did everything in the hope of thwarting the plan.

As the last line of defense, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, our current Representative to Congress, and U.S. Representative Mike Thompson, who previously represented the North Coast but now represents California’s 5th District (which includes all of Napa County and parts of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano and Sonoma) sent a letter to former South Bend mayor and presidential candidate / current US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg urging his department to halt all financial assistance for this apparent export project of coal.

Here is the letter:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

We are writing to express our concern that a consortium of coal interests, according to public reports, is seeking a federal loan from your agency to fund their controversial plan to restore freight rail service to a dilapidated and functionally abandoned railway right-of-way. from the north coast to export their coal from the Powder River Basin to Asia. The North Coast Railroad gave up on re-establishing freight service on this line many years ago due to cost and environmental factors. The line has fallen into a state of extreme disrepair. Geological instability and landslides destroyed long stretches of track. Indeed, due to landslides, the ground that supported many track segments through the canyon simply disappeared, leaving the tracks suspended in the air over the Eel River.

The right-of-way is being converted into something that can sustainably traverse the fragile Eel River Canyon: the Great Redwood Trail. When completed, it will be the longest continuous track on rails in America. But just as the Surface Transportation Board was considering the North Coast Railroad Authority’s waiver request and request for exemption from the financial aid offering process, an obscure LLC registered as “North Coast Railroad Co . ”Emerged to oppose the demand. This entity, which did not disclose its identity or its source of funding, told the STB that it was considering providing an Offer of Financial Assistance to take over the line and that it had sufficient funds to put the line back on line. condition and resume freight rail service.

Thanks to investigative reports from Salt Lake City Tribune, we now have a much clearer picture of this diagram. Additionally, internal memos discuss a plan to secure a billion dollar loan from the US Department of Transportation’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Funding Program for fund their proposal.

We cannot imagine that your Ministry of Transport, with your firm commitment to climate protection and a bold transition to clean energy, would provide financial support for a coal export project that directly undermines the program. of the Biden administration on climate and clean energy. Nonetheless, we want to be very clear: We strongly oppose federal funding for this project and urge you to personally assure yourself that it does not receive any federal support, including loans from the Rehabilitation Funding and Rehabilitation Program. improvement of the railways of the ministry.

Finally, to the extent that the ministry is even considering a request for loan or grant funding for this disastrous project, we respectfully request that you notify us immediately so that we can discuss the matter in more detail.

Thank you for your leadership.



Jared huffman


Mike thompson


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