Railroads vs. Environmentalists
Maybe I'm reading the story wrong but I was struck by what appears to be another potential industry vs. environmentalist battle.
There's been more talk in the news lately about getting the rail lines up and running again. It seems to me, many of the proponents of re- opening the rail line tend to be environmental types. In this case, looks like they might conflict with the most viable proposal for the rail line to date.
The North Coast Journal reports on the most recent efforts to get the rail line going which involve natural resource extraction - gravel mining being one mentioned- coupled with increased shipping through Humboldt Bay. This would supposedly make re- opening the rail line economically viable. I might well agree, despite having gone on record as being an extreme skeptic of re- opening the rail line.
Leave it to none other than Maggie Herbelin to re- enforce my skepticism. To quote both the story and Herbelin with my own comment interjected:
Herbelin said that not enough thought or discussion had gone into the question of whether or not a greatly ramped-up shipping industry would really be in the county's best interests. She cited pollution, noise, light and the traffic congestion from 20 trains per day [Odd that many environmentalists favor rail as a way to ease traffic congestion- Fred] as questions that needed to be studied in greater depth before the county and the Port of Humboldt commit to a plan.
"I'm skeptical — I'll put it that way — that this is the direction we want to go in," she said. "And that's the thing I think needs to be raised. With the Marina Center being proposed, I'm wondering whether we want that much industry on the bay. I'm kind of wondering — what are we looking at here? Do we want to pile industry on top of our housing?"No, we'd rather have a seafood culinary institute on the bay, right?
Her point is actually well made in that any sort of industry is going to have an effect on both the city and the bay. That comes with the territory. But she does allow me to maintain my skepticism about any chance of the railroad becoming a viable effort.
The railroad might well have a chance of becoming a economic asset under the proposals being made, but not with the current political climate in the county. The environmentalist camp won't let it happen.