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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Wisconsin judge's ruling favors BNSF's track plan


A Wisconsin judge has determined that state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials followed state law when they issued permits to BNSF Railway Co. to build a second track through a marsh in LaCrosse, according to a report in The LaCrosse Tribune.

In a petition filed last year, the Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a petition arguing that the DNR did not conduct a full environmental impact statement under Wisconsin law when it reviewed BNSF's application, the newspaper reported.

The environmental group argued that the agency's review of the application did not consider safety risks associated with the derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials, the disturbance to neighbors from increased rail traffic and the incremental impact of having to fill the marsh.

The DNR argued that its review of BNSF's application covered most of the same ground as an environmental impact statement. But the environmental group contends that the agency rule under which the DNR reviewed the application is also in violation of the law.

But LaCrosse Circuit Judge Scott Horne disagreed, saying the DNR "adequately considered the environmental impact" as required by Wisconsin law.

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