A Wyoming-based corporation’s plan to get federal-sign off on use of a vacated rail line has provoked Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors into pursuing a local coal export ban.

At their Oct. 5 meeting, supervisors took action on heading off coal export through Humboldt County.

During public comment, Colin Fiske of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities asked the county to also get involved in the federal railbanking process.

Fiske said railbanking is “the most effective way to address the coal export threat” and it’s important for the county to advocate for it.

Also during public comment, Bruce Silvey of the Humboldt Trails Council said the environmental impacts of coal transport are severe and proposals for it have been squashed in several West Coast regions.

“It would take hours to lay out all the research on the damage and unavoidable toxic coal dust in the air and water, and human health impacts that come with transporting and exporting coal,” he said. “And then there’s coal’s impact on climate change.”

Supervisors didn’t need to be persuaded and public comment was limited to a handful of people due to lack of doubt about what the board’s stance would be.

Supervisor Rex Bohn had suggested that there’s no need for public mobilization against coal transport through the county because there’s absolutely no support for it. “This horse is dead and the hole’s already dug,” he said.

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