SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT
    Decision Information

Docket Number:  
AB_55_538_X

Case Title:  
CSX TRANSPORTATION INC.--ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION--IN FAYETTE AND NICHOLAS COUNTIES, WV

Decision Type:  
Environmental Review

Deciding Body:  
Chief Of Section Of Environmental Analysis

    Decision Summary

Decision Notes:  

    Decision Attachments


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    Full Text of Decision

21418

SERVICE DATE - JANUARY 30, 1997

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

WASHINGTON, DC 20423

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT


NO. AB-55 (SUB-NO. 538X)

CSX TRANSPORTATION INC.--ABANDONMENT

IN FAYETTE AND NICHOLAS COUNTIES, WV



BACKGROUND

In this proceeding, CSX Transportation Inc. (CSX) has filed a notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1152.50 seeking exemption from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10903 in connection with the abandonment of its railroad line located between Milepost CAF-43.7 at Russ Station and CAF-58.97 at Peters Junction, a distance of 15.27 miles in Fayette and Nicholas Counties, West Virginia. A map depicting the rail line in relationship to the area served is appended to the report. If the notice becomes effective, the railroad will be able to salvage track, ties and other railroad appurtenances and to dispose of the right-of-way. During the past years, this line segment has been used for the overhead transportation of coal, however, the line segment proposed for abandonment has been out of service since July 1996.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

The railroad has submitted an environmental report that concludes the quality of the human environment will not be affected significantly as a result of the abandonment or any post-abandonment activities, including salvage and disposition of the right-of-way. The railroad has served the environmental report on a number of appropriate Federal, state, and local agencies as required by the Board's environmental rules at 49 CFR 1105.7(b). We have investigated the record in this proceeding. Also, we have contacted appropriate agencies and individuals to verify the railroad's report and to obtain additional information and comments regarding the potential environmental effects of the proposed abandonment. Contacts have included U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection; the West Virginia Division of Culture & History; Planning Commissions of Nicholas and Fayette Counties.

CONDITIONS

The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer has not completed its evaluation of the structures located on the line. Therefore, we recommended imposition of the following condition: CSX Transportation Inc. shall retain its interest in and take no steps to alter the historic integrity of all sites and structures on the line that are 50 years old or older until completion of the Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470f.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the information provided from all sources to date and subject to the recommended condition, we conclude that, as currently proposed, abandonment of the line will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Therefore, the environmental impact statement process is unnecessary.

Alternatives to the proposed abandonment would include denial (and, therefore, no change in operations), discontinuance of service without abandonment and continued operation by another operator. In any of these cases, the existing quality of the human environment and energy consumption should not be affected.

PUBLIC USE

If abandonment and salvage of the rail line does take place, the right-of-way may be suitable for other public use. A request containing the requisite four-part showing for imposition of a public use condition (49 CFR 1152.28) must be filed with the Board and served on the railroad within the time specified in the Federal Register notice.

TRAILS USE

A request for a notice of interim trail use (NITU) is due to the Board, with a copy to the railroad, within 10 days of publication of the notice of exemption in the Federal Register. However, the Board will accept late-filed requests as long as it retains jurisdiction to do so. This request must comply with the Board's rules for use of rights-of-way as trails (49 CFR 1152.29).

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

The Board's Office of Public Assistance (OPA) responds to questions regarding interim trail use, public use, and other reuse alternatives. You may contact OPA directly at (202) 927-6184, or mail inquiries to Surface Transportation Board, Office of Public Assistance, Room 4412, Washington, DC 20423.

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMENTS

If you wish to file comments regarding this environmental assessment, send an original and one copy to Vernon A. Williams, Office of the Secretary, Room 2221, Washington, DC 20423, to the attention of Victoria Rutson, who prepared this environmental assessment. Please refer to Docket No. AB-55 (Sub-No. 538X) in all correspondence addressed to the Board. If you have questions regarding this environmental assessment, you should contact Ms. Rutson at (202) 927-6211.



Date made available to the public: January 27, 1997.

Comment due date: February 7, 1997.



By the Board, Elaine K. Kaiser, Chief, Section of Environment Analysis.





Vernon A. Williams

Secretary