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8/2/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CN/WC merger won't require environmental review, STB says


Surface Transportation Board Aug. 2 ruled that the proposed Canadian National Railway Co./Wisconsin Central Transportation Corp. merger won't require a formal environmental review under National Environmental Policy Act because the combination would cause "only minimal changes in railroad operations."
In their April 9 application, CN and WC claim the proposed transaction would have insignificant environmental effects and would cause only modest operational changes — none of which would exceed thresholds triggering STB's environmental review. The railroads also believe their proposal is exempt from historic review under National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
STB had directed CN and WC to issue by May 14 an Environmental Appendix providing additional details and explanations for public review and comment.After reviewing the appendix and all comments received, STB concluded that neither an Environmental Assessment (EA) nor an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is warranted because the proposed merger wouldn't cause any more more than minor traffic increases on any rail segment, and "there's nothing in the environmental information that's currently available to indicate that the proposed transaction has any potential for significant environmental impacts."
STB also ruled that the merger is exempt from historic review under NHPA, according to the board's environmental rules.
Because no formal environmental review is required, STB believes it's unnecessary to adjust its procedural schedule to enable the railroads to prepare an EA or an EIS.


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