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3/4/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

STB ready to re-address certain environmental implications of DM&E's Powder River Basin project



On March 3, the Surface Transportation Board announced it will re-address certain environmental issues pertaining to Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp.'s (DM&E) $2 billion Power River Basin (PRB) project per the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision. STB petitioned the court for a rehearing, but the request was denied.

In January 2002, the board approved DM&E's project, imposing conditions to mitigate certain anticipated adverse environmental impacts and establishing an environmental oversight period. DM&E plans to construct 280 track miles in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 track miles in South Dakota and Minnesota to access PRB coal mines.

In January 2003, the appellate court partially remanded STB's decision, upholding the board's ruling on transportation issues, but requiring further board review on certain environmental issues. STB needs to take a second look at the project's noise and vibration effects for homes located near tracks in Rochester, Minn., and historic preservation and pollution implications, the court ruled.


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