After discussing the matter in closed session, the Long Beach City Council has authorized City Attorney Charles Parkin to appeal a state Court of Appeal’s ruling on BNSF Railway Co.’s Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) project to the California Supreme Court.
On January 12, the Court of Appeal ruled that the environmental impact report (EIR) for the project, a $500 million proposed intermodal railyard adjacent to Westside Long Beach and harbor communities, was sufficient with the exception of its assessment of air quality impacts. This overturned an earlier trial court ruling that found the EIR to have several other deficiencies, thereby making it less burdensome for BNSF to revise and correct the EIR to move ahead with the project.
Parkin told the Business Journal that he, and any other petitioners who wish to join in the effort, have until February 21 through 23 to file a petition for review with the California Supreme Court. He said he is in talks with other petitioners on the previous cases, such as the Long Beach Unified School District, some environmental groups and a handful of businesses in the area, to see if they would like to join in the effort. “We’re hoping that all of the petitioners will join and will be submitting a single petition to the Supreme Court. We think obviously that has more weight,” he said.
Parkin said the California Supreme Court accepts only about 10% of petitions, and that he is assessing how best to present the case. “We have to make a compelling argument to the court so that they would take this matter and review it,” he said.