Capdiamont\’s Weblog

MIJ: Novato unable to reach rail deal
Thursday 9 Oct 2008, 05:04
Filed under: Marin, NCRA, Novato, Railroad | Tags:

It is amazing the weird reasons people give in opposition to the rail. Nuclear caskets have been tested, over and over again for safety. 1st of all there has to be a place to transport them to. 2nd you know they have shown video of a high speed train 80+ mph broadsiding a casket that was on a truck? Still safe after that. What exactly will happen on the NWP, if it will be allowed to transport them at all, that will cause them to rupture?

Nice to know our environmental groups have the money and time to spend to go to Novato’s meeting. I wish I had both.

Jim Staats
Article Launched: 10/08/2008 11:31:05 PM PDT

Citing an outpouring of community and environmental concern including the possibility of hauling nuclear waste, the Novato City Council again delayed weighing in Wednesday on a settlement with the North Coast Railroad Authority.

“Negotiations are continuing,” said Mayor Pat Eklund. “Issues were raised that we were not aware of which is why we’ll continue negotiating.”

She said the next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Novato Unified School District office.

Wednesday was the latest of multiple times the council met over the past week to discuss the settlement to address “quiet zones” at railroad crossings and the need for an environmental impact report.

Last year Novato filed a lawsuit saying the rail authority – which wants to revive freight service – should halt work repairing and upgrading its tracks until it completes an environmental review of its 316-mile rail plan, which would bring train traffic to the city.

Novato believed such review would lead to a limit on the number of trains and hours of operation as well as requirements that so-called quiet zones be installed at crossings. Quiet zones involve extensive safety measures that permit trains to roll through crossings without sounding their horns.

Attorneys for the city and agency had developed a “consent decree” in which the rail authority agreed to spend up to $1.25 million for the quiet zones in the city. Until the quiet zones are complete, trains would not be able to run between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., except during emergencies.

Although Novato City Attorney Jeffrey Walter said the rail agency agreed to remove a contentious section of the proposed agreement that would have allowed it to avoid full environmental review by declaring the northern and southern operations of the rail improvement plan separate, residents and environmental activists remained strongly opposed to any settlement.

“If we don’t settle and make the (railroad agency’s environmental review) go through its course, you will be helping the environment and everyone in the state of California,” said Novato resident Eleanor Sluis, one of about 30 people in attendance Wednesday.

Numerous residents mentioned reports of nuclear waste being hauled on freight lines to Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

“Please don’t sign this,” said Nadananda, executive director of Garberville-based Friends of the Eel River group.

Novato resident Mike Arnold said “You are very close to winning this lawsuit.

“I plead with you this is not an agreement you want to sign.”

Rejecting the agreement would mean more litigation for a city already running a deficit. Novato has spent $297,000 on the case to date.

The Ukiah-based rail agency has proposed starting service from Willits, initially hauling garbage down through Sonoma County and Novato to Highway 37, where the trains would turn east and head for Napa County.

The rail agency’s executive director, Mitch Stogner, called issues raised Wednesday “the biggest bunch of lies I have ever heard in my life.

He said a full environmental impact report would be done “before a single train goes anywhere.”

Comments Off on MIJ: Novato unable to reach rail deal

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: