Friday, June 14, 2013

Three More Groups Sue Over SCIG Project

On the heels of a lawsuit filed last week by the City of Long Beach, three groups have filed separate legal actions to try halting development of the $500 million Southern California International Gateway project.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, South Coast Air Quality Management District and Long Beach Unified School District all submitted anti-SCIG lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court June 7, alleging that the Port of Los Angeles didn’t conduct a full and thorough environmental review before approving the project.

The City of Long Beach made similar allegations when filing its lawsuit June 5. Long Beach and the other plaintiffs say the SCIG would adversely affect its residents, businesses and schools by bringing more noise and air pollution to an area that has already suffered plenty over the years due to nearby port-related operations.

They seek an injunction against the 153-acre project, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in May 2013 and by the Port of Los Angeles Commission about two months before that.

If built, the BNSF-owned project would sit just outside West Long Beach, alongside the Terminal Island Freeway on land owned by the Port of LA. It would serve on-dock rail facilities at both the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.

Despite allegations that it would increase asthma and cancer rates in the West Long Beach area, BNSF contends that if built, the SCIG would reduce truck traffic, freeway congestion and air pollution by eliminating about 1.3 million truck trips annually along a 24-mile stretch of the Long Beach 710 Freeway to BNSF’s Hobart Yard near downtown LA.

Originally, construction was due to begin later this year and open in 2016, but that plan could be delayed or scrapped altogether depending on the status of the legal actions against it.