WLB Residents Who Want Proposed BNSF Railyard In Port, Not Near Neighborhoods, Send Letter & Video To Investor Warren Buffett (Whose Company Has Major Share In BNSF); Video Includes WLB Ass'n Pres. John Cross & Other WLB Advocates

Coalition vows to travel to Omaha to coincide with Berkshire Hathaway's upcoming shareholder meeting (site of frequent nat'l media coverage)

Did you know you'll probably blow at least $68,982 dollars to power your home for the next 25 years. GO SOLAR With Ameco Solar, a SunPower Premier Dealer who’s been Solarizing Long Beach Since 1974 - WHO ELSE CAN SAY THAT?! GO SOLAR, SEE DONTBLOWYOURCASH.COM
(April 26, 2012) -- A coalition of groups opposed to locating BNSF's proposed new railyard ("So. California Int'l Gateway") adjacent to WLB neighborhoods miles from arriving ships (instead of in the port where it could transfer containers directly onto trains) has sent a letter (text below) to investor Warren Buffett (CEO of company with controlling interest in BNSF) along with a video that shows affected areas and includes appearances by doctors, teachers and West Long Beach Ass'n President John Cross and other WLB residents.

And an April 26 release from the L.A. Port Working Group indocates that if Mr. Buffett continues to ignore the coalition's efforts, they will travel to Omaha, Nebraska in about two weeks to coincide with the annual shareholders' meeting of Mr. Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, an event frequently drawing national media attenion.

The coalition favors locating BNSF's railyard in the Port itself where it could utilize "on-dock" rail, trasnfering containers directly from ships onto trains. BNSF proposes instead to build its railyard several miles inland on land owned by the Port of Los Angeles near WLB residential neighborhoods, which would require the continued use of trucks to haul containers from ships to its railyard as currently proposed.

"There is an alternative to the proposed railyard: the Port should build more railyard capacity right at the Port -- on its dock, rather than in our neighborhood -- so that cargo containers could be moved directly from ships onto BNSF trains," the release says. "More on-port rail would eliminate tens of thousands of truck trips and the accompanying pollution near our homes and schools. We would have as many new, good jobs as the polluting alternative, but without damaging the health of our families or imposing massive new health care costs on our community."

(The Port of Los Angeles has taken the position that land in the Port itself is unavailable.)

Among those appearing on the video is West Long Beach Ass'n President John Cross. "The Port of L.A. and the Port of Long Beach and the rail companies need to work together to put facilities in the Port," Mr. Cross says in the video.

Other WLB'ers appearing on the video include Beatriz Reyes and Evelyn Knight.

Several video speakers invite Mr. Buffett (in English and Spanish) to come to their neighborhoods and see the situation for himself...and the video ends with a slide stating, "Dear Mr. Buffett: Please visit our community and see for yourself why this is not the right place for a toxic railyard." And it cites a website: (which leads to the the website of the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice).

In its release, the coalition charges BNSF's currently proposed location "would further damage public health and drive up already high health care costs by increasing residents’ exposure to the deadly fine particulate matter spewed by diesel trucks carrying shipping containers to and from the port."

When the coalition received no response to its letter (text below), it escalated its advocacy to include the video (with medical profesionals, community advocates, residents and children) and uploaded the video onto, where it is now accessible on-demand.

BNSF has previously argued that its proposed railyard will bring jobs and use cleaner equipment that produces less pollution than older equipment now used at its older railyard nearby. BNSF also says trucks used in process will be newer and cleaner and will use routes that avoid residential neighborhoods.

Opponents of the proposed facility dispute claims of less net pollution, arguing that new larger container ships mean larger container loads requiring more trucks...with a net result of more pollution, not less.

Supporters of the BNSF proposed facility include the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce [whose Board of Directors includes BNSF's Director of Government Affairs...who also serves as the LB Chamber's current Vice Chair for Public Policy] and several trade unions (who have argued that it will bring their members jobs in building the facility).

Long Beach Councilman James Johnson has urged evaluation of "zero emission" technology in connection with the project. When the Port of Los Angeles' draft Environmental Impact Report rejected "zero emission" technology as infeasible without evaluation, he and Councilwoman Rae Gabelich agendized an item to put the City of Long Beach on record in opposition to the facility as proposed. The City Council instead voted to direct city management to submit comments in the draft EIR proceeding (which were sharply critical of the draft EIR (and in particular its refusal to evaluate zero emitting technology.).

The LB Unified School District has also filed comments critical of the draft EIR for the railyard as proposed.

The coalition's letter to Mr. Buffett is reproduced below.

April 10, 2012

Warren E. Buffett
3555 Farnam St., Suite 1440,
Omaha NE, 68131

Re: Southern California International Gateway proposed railyard

Dear Mr. Buffett,

We live in the neighborhoods of West Long Beach and East Wilmington, California and are members of organizations that work in these areas that have come to be called the "diesel death zone" by doctors and other health professionals who serve our community. We’ve earned this designation because we live near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles which together make up the largest port complex in the United States where ships, trucks and trains spew the cancer-and asthma-causing diesel fumes into the air that we and our children breathe every day.

As you may know, one of your companies, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), is proposing to build a railyard in our community that will significantly increase harmful diesel air pollution. The purpose of this proposed railyard is to increase the amount of cargo hauled by BNSF railroad. However, we believe there must be a better solution, one that will create a net increase of jobs without adding additional pollution and increasing more negative impacts on our communities. We are asking for your help to achieve this solution.

The Port of Los Angeles will decide soon whether or not to allow the BNSF rail yard to be located in our neighborhoods that stretch from Wilmington to West Long Beach. The location will subject us to millions of additional diesel trucks and hundreds of additional diesel locomotives. BNSF wants to build this railyard within 500 to 1000 feet of multiple public schools and only 250 feet from a daycare center for homeless children. More than 30 locomotives a day would go in and out of the yard -- and thousands of trucks a day. This project flies in the face of all the latest research findings from studies at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and across the country, showing extremely harmful health effects from air pollution in areas adjacent to traffic pollution, including diesel emissions.

We know we already face unacceptably high levels of diesel air pollution from port and rail yard operations. Studies by the our regional air quality agency, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, show that our neighborhoods have the highest health risks in our region from air toxics, because of emissions from port- and port-related operations. Further, using data from BNSF, our state air quality agency, the California Air Resources Board, found high cancer risks for residents living close to BNSF’s rail yards.

There is an alternative to the proposed railyard: the Port should build more railyard capacity right at the Port -- on its dock, rather than in our neighborhood -- so that cargo containers could be moved directly from ships onto BNSF trains. More on-port rail would eliminate tens of thousands of truck trips and the accompanying pollution near our homes and schools. We would have as many new, good jobs as the polluting alternative, but without damaging the health of our families or imposing massive new health care costs on our community.

No doubt you have already heard about the outrage that the BNSF proposal has created in southern California. Adding yet another polluting facility close to schools and playgrounds and daycare centers in a lower-income minority community, which already suffers from dangerously high levels of air pollution, is unacceptable to us. Building another rail yard in our neighborhood would be an environmental injustice. You have probably also heard claims by BNSF management that the proposed railyard would be "environmentally friendly." But that is a farce. This project would only add to the amount of deadly fine particulate diesel exhaust in the area. Additionally, BNSF’s track record at its existing yards in San Bernardino and Commerce demonstrate the air pollution and health risks this project would bring to our area.

We would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter with you in greater detail. We invite you to visit our community so that you can see for yourself just how unwise placing a rail yard in our community would be rather than putting it on the Port’s dock. We and the doctors and other health professionals in our community, as well as scientists from USC and UCLA, would be happy to take you on a tour of the area and demonstrate the viability of the solution we’re sure you will support once you have considered the facts...


Coalition for Clean Air

Coalition for a Safe Environment

Communities for a Better Environment

East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

End Oil

Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization

Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma

West Long Beach Association

Beatriz Reyes

Carmen Rivera

Elena Rodriguez

Evelyn Knight

John Cross

Sofia Carrillo

Developing...with further to follow on

Follow w/




Return To Front Page

Contact us:

Carter Wood Floors
Hardwood Floor Specialists
Call (562) 422-2800 or (714) 836-7050

blog comments powered by Disqus

Return To Front Page

Contact us:

Copyright © 2012, LLC. All rights reserved. Terms of Use/Legal policy, click here. Privacy Policy, click here