Earlier this afternoon, the North Coast Railroad voted 8-1 to rescind its earlier certification of an environmental impact report governing operations on the southern end of its line. (Want background? See yesterday’s post.) LoCO Op-Ed contributor Bernie Meyers, who represents Marin County on the NCRA Board of Directors, was the sole vote in opposition.

The NCRA board has been very clear that this legal maneuver essentially amounts to an assertion that it, an agency of the state of California, is not bound by California environmental law. It is also quite clear that up-front about the fact that this decertification is a legal stratagem that hopes to make a lawsuit brought by Friends of the Eel and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics simply disappear: You say our EIR is inadequate? Well, we no longer have an EIR, so it can’t be inadequate.

It seemed that no one quite expected something that happened early on in the hearing on the item: A representative from the California Transportation Commission showed up with an official letter saying: Hey, if you’re going to flush away this environmental impact report, then we’re going to want back that $3 million we gave you to make that environmental impact report. Much later in the meeting this was brought up and essentially dismissed as a misunderstanding. We still have the EIR, several directors said. People can still look at it and stuff. There’s a lot of good information in there.

But their vote said: We just no longer accept that it is a legally binding document. Whether Caltrans or the courts smile upon this fact or not is something we will all soon discover together.

Your Lost Coast Outpost chatted about the meeting with KHUM’s Mike Dronkers shortly after the vote went down. Audio follows: