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12/29/2006



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. appellate court upholds STB's green-light decision on the DM&E's Powder River Basin project



For the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. (DM&E), the decision stands. Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board announced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the board’s decision that granted final approval — subject to certain environmental mitigation conditions — to the DM&E’s proposed Powder River Basin (PRB) project.

Several parties filed a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the STB’s environmental review of the project under which the DM&E would build a 262.3-mile line through western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 miles of other lines in South Dakota and Minnesota to access the PRB. Those parties include the Mayo Clinic and city of Rochester, Minn., which oppose the project and are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to reject the DM&E’s application for a $2.3 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Financing loan to help fund construction.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling, which is a significant step in allowing this important project to go forward,” said STB Chairman Charles Nottingham in a prepared statement. “The DM&E now has the opportunity to introduce additional competition and capacity into the Powder River Basin.”


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