Monday, June 18, 2012

STB proceeds on Montana railroad proposal

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

The Surface Transportation Board announced Monday its plan for consideration of Tongue River Railroad Co.'s revised proposal to build and operate a new rail line in Montana between Miles City and Ashland.

The new approach takes into account a number of changed circumstances.

"In December 2011," the board noted, "the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision affirming in part the board's decisions in two of the three Tongue River cases, while making it clear that TRRC may not build any part of the Tongue River Railroad without further environmental review. TRRC also recently announced revised plans for the location of the line and a change in ownership of the railroad and stated that the purpose and need for the proposed line have changed. Accordingly, the Board is requiring TRRC to file a revised application that presents fully TRRC's new proposal to build a rail line. The agency will conduct a new environmental review of that plan consistent with the Ninth Circuit's decision regarding these cases."