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Senator Mark McGuire Introduces Bill to Halt the North Coast Coal Train Calling It a ‘Dangerous Proposal’


The following is a press release from the Office of Senator Mark McGuire

A Map of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad [From the Interstate Commerce Commission]

Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation today to stop one of the largest environmental threats the North Coast has seen in decades — a proposal from a secret, clandestine operation, hiding behind an anonymous LLC out of Wyoming, that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt. 

The shadowy rail operation would utilize a portion of the now defunct North Coast rail route, which runs approximately 320 miles between Marin and Humboldt counties. The coal would then be loaded onto ships in Humboldt Bay, sold overseas, and burned.

Senator McGuire’s SB 307, which was introduced last week, would help stop that proposal, or anything like it in the future, in its tracks.

“This toxic coal train would run through the heart of so many thriving communities and along the Russian and Eel Rivers, which are the main source of drinking water for nearly one million residents,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “This dangerous proposal must be stopped, which is why we have introduced SB 307. This critical bill will ban any state funding from being invested to improve the rail line for coal shipments north of Willits and it bans any state funding to buildout a potential coal storage terminal at the Port of Humboldt. No way, no how are we going to let this happen.”

The secrecy behind the toxic coal train is completely offensive, as well as the fact these bad actors have met behind closed doors with some local officials to try and make this toxic dream a reality. This anonymous group has also filed a request to kill the build out of the Great Redwood Trail. The Trail, which will be the longest contiguous rail-trail in America, would stretch from the bustling waters of San Francisco Bay to the fog-shrouded redwood shores of Humboldt Bay.

SB 307 explicitly states that state money can not be spent to initiate, improve or operate rail service on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of the City of Willits. Further, it bans state money from being spent on the buildout of any new bulk coal terminal facilities within the County of Humboldt.

In addition, Senator McGuire has made significant progress on the Great Redwood Trail. SB 69, which was approved in the Assembly by a vote of 71-0 and then in the Senate by 38-0, will close down the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) once and for all, and transfer their property and rights to the Great Redwood Trail Agency and to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART).

The Great Redwood Trail will meander through ancient redwoods, state and national wildlands, oak-studded golden hills and along our incredible rivers. The Trail will also be an economic driver for the dozens of rural communities it runs through.

“Coal is the dirtiest and most damaging source of energy out there. It’s the number one cause of global warming and it’s the number one contributor to our climate crisis. The people of the North Coast won’t stand for this. We rallied against Big Oil to protect our coast from offshore drilling – and won. And we will win this fight against Big Coal,” Senator Mike McGuire said.



  1. Screaming Fire in the Theater
    This is a manufactured issue created by McGuire and former congressman Bosco to sell this defunct train company to the state under the guise of creating a walking trail between Marin County and Eureka. When are the people of rural, Northern California going to wake up? We’re just a little piece of the piggy bank that funds the single party that controls our lives in this state. This bill is nothing but smoke, and if it passes, proof that everybody north of Santa Rosa are stoned. The coal can easily go through Seattle. The North Coast Rail line is in a state of total disrepair. Coal companies would bankrupt if they ever tried to use it.

  2. McGuire is leveraging hysteria. Coal might be bad news, but it is a reality.

    The notion that the Northern Pacific rail line might be reopened is interesting. It doesn’t kill the nature trail. It guarantees it. I hiked it when it was open about 20 years ago. As a public right of way, it was always open. Before it fell into dramatic disrepair dropping boxcars off sagging rails into the canyons on a regular basis- it carried lumber, fuel, etc. taking large amounts of heavy trucking off the road. Safer and substantially more efficient both in labor and fuel.

    For those on the coast- it might also incentivize repair of the Skunk line for commercial transport. Which would put people to work through industry and tourism. Next time you have to share the road with a kingpin to rear axle who won’t pull over, or a logging truck “borrowing” your lane- remember- the Skunk line used to haul that stuff. And for those not mortally offended at walking along train tracks, it is a beautiful hike.

  3. Our congressmen, taking jobs from the locals, pimping a trail that will be to hot or too cold to hike on. These politicians need to walk down the eel river canyon, before they open their big mouths, just from Tatu to Woodman on a warm Aug. day. i am sure the worm will turn. those pale white boys with fat wallets will run to mama. They are great making laws that the local people dont want or need, the coal will get hauled no mater what, and will be burnt no matter what! they arent saving a thing, they say the forest they are all burnt, then the water, its gone. so tell us what you are saving?

  4. I had a family member who worked in the lookout tower on Spyrock , she always said the train was good for a spot fire a mile at least. I prefer the hikers. Even if they chain smoked the whole way I bet they couldn’t pull that off.

    • WHEN there was a look out at Spyrock.we had steam engines, funny the whole country didnt burn, but it didnt. besides who would put the fires out up in the canyon, no roads, it would take a train another day to get there,

  5. Yeah Mike keep spending millions on a trail that we cannot afford and turn away job opportunities and the possibility of growth for our county.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Educator🔸Reporter for KMUD/ Redheaded Blackbelt/Founder of Cold Case Mendocino🔹Local News Junkie

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