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10/29/2007



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Mayo Clinic calls on the STB to 'carefully' examine CPR/DM&E transaction



A major opponent to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad's (DM&E) Powder River Basin project is calling on the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to carefully review Canadian Pacific Railway's recent acquisition of the regional.

On Oct. 25, the Mayo Clinic submitted a filing to the board asking the STB to reconsider its procedural schedule for the transaction, which "fails to provide sufficient time for meaningful dialogue between the affected parties and new ownership," according to a prepared statement.

Clinic officials also called on the STB to ensure CPR's application to control the regional includes information that "verifies" the DM&E's revenue, "fully addresses" the future movement of PRB coal and environmental effects, and lays out a safety integration plan.

Mayo Clinic officials maintain that an additional environmental review by the STB is "appropriate." Last year, the board completed an environmental review of the PRB project, which calls for building a 262.3-mile line through western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrading 600 miles of track in South Dakota and Minnesota.

The Rochester, Minn., clinic estimates that CPR's acquisition of the DM&E would result in as many as 43 trains passing through the city's downtown each day — a "substantial increase" from the DM&E's previous estimates, the clinic claims.

"The Mayo Clinic does not object to the DM&E being sold. We are simply asking for a complete and thoughtful review of a transaction," said clinic spokesman Chris Gade. "Our primary concern continues to be the safety of our patients, staff and community, as well as the safety of other communities along the line."


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