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STB releases supplemental environmental study on DM&E's Powder River Basin project


Last week, the Surface Transportation Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis issued a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) on the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp.’s (DM&E) proposed $2 billion Powder River Basin expansion project.

Conducted in cooperation with the U.S. departments of the Interior and Agriculture, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast
Guard, the Draft SEIS analyzed the projects’ environmental impacts from increased train horn noise, vibration and coal consumption in the region.

In 2002, the STB granted final approval to DM&E's project under which the railroad plans to construct 280 track miles in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, and upgrade 600 track miles in South Dakota and Minnesota to move coal northbound from basin mines. The board imposed conditions that would mitigate certain anticipated environmental impacts and establish an oversight period.

However, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals partially remanded STB's decision last year as part of a lawsuit. The court upheld the board's ruling on transportation issues, but required further board review on certain environmental impacts, including noise and vibration effects, pollution implications and historic preservation issues.

The STB is accepting written comments from the public on the Draft SEIS. Comments must be postmarked by June 6.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/18/2005