Thursday, July 14, 2011

Judges Seem Skeptical About Coal Train

A 9th Circuit panel seemed skeptical that the Surface Transportation Board had properly studied the environmental impacts of a railroad project in Montana's Tongue River Valley. The 9th Circuit heard arguments in Portland on Monday on the Surface Transportation Board's denial of a request to stop construction of 130-mile project. The Tongue River III project would help transport coal from Montana to Midwestern power plants. In July 2010, the conservation group Northern Plains Resource Center and rancher Mark Fix petitioned the STB, a federal agency, to stop construction, claiming there had not been sufficient studies on the environmental impacts of coal trains. In his testimony, Fix said the railroad "would turn the Tongue River Valley into an industrial zone." The STB denied the request, saying the Northern Plains Resource Center (NPRC) and Fix did not prove that further environmental studies were necessary. Environmental law professor Jack Tuholske also argued for the petitioners. He said the railroad threatened ranches and farms with condemnation, and that the environmental analysis by the STB was deficient...more

No comments: