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Florida East Coast awaits federal judge's ruling on mining permits, case's affect on aggregate business


The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently ruled that several mining permits in southern Florida’s Lake Belt area were granted to aggregate companies without adequate environmental analysis. Although mining operations won’t be affected until a federal judge attempts to sort out the environmental issues at a May 10 hearing, any stoppage or slowdown would impact Florida East Coast Railway’s (FECR) aggregate business.

The 351-mile regional moves aggregate for customers that have mining permits in the Lake Belt area. Last year, the railroad generated about $70 million — or 29 percent — of its revenue from aggregate business.

In its ruling on a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, the federal court remanded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife Service to re-investigate environmental impact statements issued as part of the permitting process and report back to the court at the hearing next month.

“We believe a solution can be reached that allows for mining while protecting the environment,” said Adolfo Henriques, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FECR parent Florida East Coast Industries Inc., in a prepared statement.