The following is a press release from River City Communications:
On Friday, June 3, 2022, Mendocino Railway, which operates the World-Famous Skunk Train, wrote the California Assembly Transportation Committee that it stands in support of Senate Bill 307, authored by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg).
The legislation seeks to stop the shipment of coal through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt. Such an operation, if feasible, would require restoring portions of the now defunct North Coast rail route, which runs approximately 320 miles between Marin and Humboldt counties. To achieve this objective the Senator McGuire’s legislation would prohibit state funding to initiate or operate rail services on the North Coast Rail Authorities (NCRA) or Great Redwood Trail Agency’s (GRTA) rail right-of-way north of the City of Willits, and no state funding could be spent on a coal terminal within Humboldt County.
Robert Jason Pinoli, president of Mendocino Railway, wrote the committee, “Over the course of its 137-years of existence, Mendocino Railway has never transported coal, nor does it desire to do so. Our freight operations have been sustained by timber and other commodities. Our non-tourist passenger operations support the remote residences and communities that are sometimes solely dependent on the train. Lastly, our excursion operations are sustained by passengers who value the experience of riding the world-famous Skunk Train through old-growth redwood groves, over scenic trestle bridges, through spectacular tunnels, and into the heart of the Noyo River canyon. Our programs set out to protect the old-growth redwoods from wildfires and restore precious salmonoid habitat underscore our commitment to protecting the environment and to the riders that enjoy the same pristine views that have remained largely unchanged for well over a century.”
To put to rest unsupported media reports that Mendocino Railway is working in collusion with the “Mystery Coal Train,” Pinoli added, “Such speculation is unsourced and factually inaccurate. Our support for Senator McGuire’s legislation should dispel any doubt.”