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A cargo ship stands on Long Beach harbour, California. If the SCIG rail yard project is approved, cargo will be transferred onto freight trains closer to the port.
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission yesterday approved the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG), a $500 million rail yard project. This project still needs to be approved by the Los Angeles City Council, but the SCIG has been the center of a big debate.
This project will bring a large new rail yard and trucking depot to the area near the Port of Long Beach. Supporters include numerous politicos and those who advocate for the reported 1,500 new jobs the SCIG would bring to the area. Also, by transferring cargo at the port instead of downtown L.A., there should be less truck traffic on the 710 freeway. But Long Beach residents don’t want fleets of freight trains and trucks constantly rolling in and out of the new site. They say this project will cause health and respiratory illnesses, and environmental groups question if these trucks will really end up being zero- or near-zero-emission.
Can this project by the Port of Long Beach mean less truck traffic and diesel fumes? Will it raise health issues to nearby residents? Do more job opportunities outweigh these concerns?
David Pettit, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council and director of NRDC's Southern California Air Program
Roger Nober, Executive Vice President of BNSF, the sponsor of the SCIG project