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County Issues Notice of Violation to Skunk for Oil Spill

Mendocino County Environmental Health

Fort Bragg Office
120 W. Fir St.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Phone: 707-961-2714


December 6, 2021

Mendocino Railway, d.b.a. Skunk Train
Attn: Robert Pinoli
100 W. Laurel St.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Dear Mr. Pinoli, 

On December 1, 2021, Mendocino County Environmental Health received a report from a private citizen of an oil discharge at the Mendocino Railway yard, located at 100 W. Laurel Street, Fort Bragg. An Environmental Health Specialist (EHS) was dispatched to the scene to investigate, observe and report. In the process the EHS confirmed a spill had occurred and attempted to confirm the source was secured when he was denied access to where the train engines were stored. 

The Mendocino Railway has been permitted by Mendocino County Environmental Health’s Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) dating back to 1994. As a condition of the permit, the applicant and facility is to be in compliance with all applicable rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to the CUPA program. 

Division 20, Chap 6.5, Article 8, Section 25511 of the California Health and Safety Code (H&S) provides authority to a representative of the CUPA to conduct inspections concerning hazardous material, in addition to hazardous waste. 

Section 25185 H&S allows any authorized representative of the CUPA to enforce, at any reasonable hour of the day, to enter and inspect any place where hazardous wastes are stored, handled, processed, disposed of, or being treated to recover resources. The same section allows the CUPA inspector to photograph any waste, waste container, waste container label, vehicle, waste treatment process, waste disposal site, or condition constituting a violation of law found during an inspection. 

Section 25515.4 H&S declares a person who willfully prevents, interferes with, or attempts to impede the enforcement by any authorized representative of a CUPA is, upon conviction, guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Section 25510.2 H&S allows CUPAs to respond to the release or threatened release of a hazardous material. 

Section 25510(b) H&S, requires “the handler facility representative or employees to, upon discovery, immediately report any release or threatened release of a hazardous material, or an actual release of a hazardous substance.” Additionally, title 19 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) section 

2631(a)(1) requires an immediate, verbal report of any release or threatened release of a hazardous material to the CUPA and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) as soon as a person has knowledge of the release or threatened release. 

Title 22 CCR section 66268.1, prohibits persons who generate or transport hazardous waste from the disposal of hazardous waste on land. 

Therefore, this is your official notice to do the following: 

  1. Contact this office or the state warning center to report a release immediately.
  2. Schedule an inspection of the location of the release immediately.
  3. Provide, in writing, your facility’s plan for removing any, hazardous material that has been released to the ground, as well as any contractor’s name and contract information to be used for cleanup.
  4. Remove and replace any soils contaminated by crankcase (motor), hydraulic, or diesel oils and/or bunker fuels at the direction and satisfaction of Mendocino County Environmental Health, State of California agencies, and/or the government agencies of the United States.
  5. Provide proof the contaminated soils have been characterized by a certified laboratory. Tests shall include Total petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) test, as well as tests for Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene (TPEX).
  6. Provide any invoices, hazardous waste manifests, or other record of waste disposal.
  7. Provide any documentation showing that your facility has complied or attempted to comply with the above sections.

All of these violations must be cleared immediately, with proof of said compliance provided to this office within thirty (30) days of this letter. Failure to comply with these terms within the time afforded may result in fines, and/or criminal action(s). 

Feel free to discuss this issue with Kirk Ford, Hazardous Materials Program Manager or Will Nalty, Hazardous Materials Operations Specialist, at (707) 234-6625. 


Will Nalty
Hazardous Materials Operations Specialist


  1. Marmon December 7, 2021

    “WTF” Local government wants to drag this out in court for another 20 years? Get out of the way you commie bastards. GP will align with the little stinker and kick your ass in court. Dan Gjerde, and dipshit’s Wood and McGruire can not save you.

    Furthermore, do you really want to trust Christan Curtis’ legal opinion on this subject? Definately out of his leage on this, in my opinion.


  2. Lazarus December 8, 2021

    The Skunk has been running in Mendo for a long time. I wonder how many times the Environmental Health Department has issued them an NOV for spilled oil in the past?
    Old trains, cars, even boats leak oil all the time. But luckily, a concerned citizen wanders in, see’s a spill, and calls the authorities.
    And conveniently, the EHD has an office right there in ole Fort Bragg. Could this possibly have something to do with that old mill site property dust-up? Nah…just one of those unexplainable coincidences. wink, wink…
    Be well,

  3. Charles December 8, 2021

    Terrible people that work for a tourist train mogul who scams our community and never puts money back into it. He’s more at home on his wine train. The employees and locals who support this are either stupid or complicit, and why ? So mike hart can become richer?? Wtf is right but in the opposite way the jackass redneck previously chimed in.

    • Marmon December 8, 2021

      Charles, the City could have settled and obtained that property years ago, but just like most government entities they don’t know how to get out of their own way. Now they need to get out of the little stinkers way.

      One exception to the rule, Alan “the Kid” Flora, Clearlake’s city manager.


      • Marmon December 8, 2021

        GP was done with the City of Fort Bragg, didn’t want to negotiate with them anymore.


  4. Marmon December 8, 2021

    The County needs to turn their backs on any enviromental concerns like they did regarding the old Masonite site north of Ukiah. Too bad Pinoli isn’t best friends with Angelo like Ross Liberty is.


  5. Charles Brandenburg December 9, 2021

    I lived on glass beach during the past 10 years of transformation….. So far Fort Bragg has done an incredible job, we have a world class path now! Do you think the train could have pulled that off or that they would have? What a joke they are. I predict the skunk will not remain in tact if they are allowed to continue this outrageous scam on THE PEOPLE OF THE MENDOCINO COAST.

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