The next court hearing in the case regarding a proposed $500-million project by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway to build an on-dock rail yard Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) facility on Port of Los Angeles property adjacent to West Long Beach has been scheduled for January 28, according to Long Beach City Attorney Charlie Parkin.


For more than a decade, BNSF has been planning to build an on-dock rail yard facility on a 153-acre site bounded by Sepulveda Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway, the Dominguez Channel and Terminal Island Freeway in order to move cargo containers from trucks to rail lines closer to port docks, increasing efficiency and capacity.


In 2013, however, the City of Long Beach and several other parties, including the Long Beach Unified School District and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and BNSF, claiming an environmental impact report (EIR) on the project conducted by the Port of Los Angeles is flawed.


While the Port and BNSF assert that the proposed state-of-the-art project would reduce air pollution by taking trucks off freeways and including zero-emission equipment, opponents claim the project would increase health risks and air pollution in the local community, particularly impacting Long Beach schools, a homeless shelter and residential neighborhoods.


After Country Costa County Superior Court Judge Barry P. Goode heard oral arguments on November 16 and 17 in Martinez, California, he scheduled another hearing for January 28 to hear oral arguments from the NRDC on a matter regarding due process, Parkin said, adding that the judge won’t make a ruling on the project’s EIR until after the next court hearing.


If the judge concludes oral arguments at the next court hearing, the judge then would have 90 days to render a final decision on the case, Parkin said.