US Supreme Court Denies Review to North Coast Railroad Agency

Monday, April 30, 2018

The NW Pacific Rail line along the Wild & Scenic Eel River

(EUREKA) The Supreme Court of the United States today denied the petition of the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) to review the California Supreme Court’s July 2017 ruling in cases brought by Friends of the Eel River (FOER) and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATS).

The refusal means that the California Supreme Court’s decision stands, and the NCRA remains subject to the requirements of California environmental law. FOER and CATS will be back in California Superior Court next week seeking to hold the NCRA accountable for its refusal to follow the California Environmental Quality Act, despite its promises to do so as a condition of receiving tens of millions of dollars in state funds.

Meanwhile, the California legislature is poised to abolish the NCRA altogether. If Sen. Mike McGuire’s SB 1029 is passed and signed into law, the NCRA would be replaced for the northern 157 miles of the failed rail line by a new Great Redwood Trails Agency, with a mandate to seek railbanking for the line from Humboldt Bay to Willits. South of Willits, the NCRA’s freight rail operations would be turned over to SMART, an existing commuter rail agency

Friends of the Eel River Conservation Director Scott Greacen said the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant certiorari marks a watershed moment in the long-simmering conflict over the rail line. “We’re not home yet, but now we know we’re going to get there. One way or another, the threat that the NCRA has posed to the Eel and its fisheries for decades will end.”

Many thanks to the outstanding legal teams behind the FOER and CATS lawsuits.

Read more about about the case here.