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New Jersey coalition seeks STB ruling to provide states control over rail-yard waste sites

A coalition comprising 10 local governments, municipal associations and trade groups in New Jersey recently petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to stop railroads from disregarding state environmental laws governing unregulated waste facilities at rail yards.

Coalition members cite an open-air waste handling site along a railroad in North Bergen, N.J., that plans to operate without obtaining permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“The owners and operators of these facilities are attempting to evade state and local permits by claiming these waste facilities are not subject to state environmental regulations since rail operations are regulated by the STB,” coalition officials said in a prepared statement.

Adds Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.): “The STB has the opportunity … to set the record straight and shut down waste site operators who seek to exploit any perceived loophole in federal law.”

If the STB rules in the coalition’s favor, states would regain control over waste sites at rail yards. The board is expected to rule on the coalition’s petition within five to seven months.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/28/2005