Friday, July 17, 2009

Alaska rail plan triggers broadly-scoped EIS

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The Surface Transportation Board on Friday released the final scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being prepared in connection with the application of the Alaska Railroad for authority to construct a new 30- to 45-mile new rail line from Port Mackenzie to ARRC’s existing main line.The scope of the EIS reflects STB's determination that "this project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts."

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STB said the EIS "will analyze potential impacts fromconstruction and operation of new rail facilities on the human and natural environment for each alternative, or in the case of the no-action alternative, the potential impacts of these activities not occurring. Impact areas addressed will include the categories of geology and soils, water resources including wetlands and other waters of the U.S., biological resources, cultural and historic resources, subsistence, air quality, noise and vibration, energy resources, transportation safety and delay, navigation, landuse, socioeconomics as they relate to physical changes in the environment, and environmental justice."