Bill now headed to Assembly
Senate Bill 307 is on track for approval after clearing the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support Monday.
The bill, introduced by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), would block a proposal to restore the defunct North Coast railroad in an attempt to export coal overseas from Montana, Utah and Wyoming through the Port of Humboldt Bay by prohibiting the use of state funds for any new bulk coal terminal project within Humboldt County.
Earlier this month, the Eureka City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the transportation of coal on city property.
“Clearly, our council is not a proponent of bringing coal to the harbor,” said Eureka City Manager Miles Slattery. “They made it very clear through a resolution that they don’t want coal handled on city-owned property because of the environmental and potential health effects of that.”
Slattery underscored the city’s support for the proposed Great Redwood Trail and further development of the Waterfront Trail.
“Our elected officials are very much proponents of railbanking and we’re waiting for that to happen so we can extend our waterfront trails,” he said. “That’s been supported by our council since the beginning and we hope that the other state legislators are proponents of it.”
The Eureka City Council returned once again to its previously discussed coal transportation and storage ordinance following amendments to the bill, ultimately approving the amended item’s introduction by an unanimous vote at this week’s regular meeting.
The new version grants the council the right to appeal any exemption requests granted by the city manager for the transport of coal in city-owned lands. The new appeal section of the bill also extends the category of people who can file an appeal to a city manager’s decision, including the public and individual members of the city council.
Public comment throughout the proposed ordinance’s time on the council floor has largely supported the item. This Tuesday’s meeting was not an exception.
“Thank the council and your staff for bringing this ordinance forward, clarifying the appeal issue and hopefully, passing it this evening. Thank you for your efforts and keeping our citizens and our environment clean and healthy,” said Karen Underwood of the Humboldt Trail Council.