Great Lake Basin

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Environmental Matters > Great Lakes Basin

Great Lakes Basin Rail Line Project

Summary:
Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc. (GLBT) filed an application pursuant to 49 U.S. C.§10901 on May 1, 2017 seeking authority from the Surface Transportation Board (Board) to construct and operate an approximately 261-mile rail line. According to GLBT, the proposed rail line would extend generally from Pinola, Indiana through Illinois to a point near Milton, Wisconsin and would connect with existing Class I and short line railroads.

The construction and operation of the GLBT’s proposed rail line has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts. The Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C.§4321 et seq.). In accordance with NEPA and the Board’s environmental rules, OEA issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Availability of the Draft Scope of Study for the Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Scoping Meetings; and Request for Comments on Draft Scope of Study on March 18, 2016. The purpose of the Notice of Intent was to inform stakeholders—including members of the public; Tribes; federal, state, and local agencies; environmental groups; potential shippers and other parties—interested in or potentially affected by the proposed project. .

OEA held public scoping meetings in April, 2016 as part of the NEPA process. The comment period on the Draft Scope of Study closed on July 15, 2016. Comments submitted during that scoping period will assist OEA in defining the range of alternatives and potential impacts to be considered in the EIS. GLBT requested a suspension of the environmental review process on December 1, 2016 while it completed its application to the Board. OEA will update the public when GLBT requests that OEA resume the environmental review process. Once a range of reasonable alternatives has been defined, OEA will invite comment from the public on those alternatives prior to issuance of the Final Scope of Study. OEA will then prepare and issue a Final Scope of Study for the preparation of the Draft EIS, taking into consideration all comments received.

The Draft EIS will address the environmental issues and concerns identified during the scoping process and assess and compare potential alternatives including the “no-action” alternative. The Draft EIS will also contain OEA’s preliminary recommendations for environmental mitigation measures and any mitigation measures proposed by GLBT. Upon its completion, the Draft EIS will be made available for review and comment by the public, government agencies, and other interested parties. OEA will then prepare a Final EIS that considers comments on the Draft EIS.

For Further Information: For additional information about the Board’s environmental review process and this EIS, you may also visit a Board-sponsored project website at www.GreatLakesBasinRailEIS.com. You may also contact Ken Blodgett by mail at Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20423-0001, or the EIS project team by phone at 844-318-9872 (toll-free). Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339. Members of the press should contact Dennis Watson in the Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance by email at dennis.watson@stb.gov, or by phone at 202-245-0234.

 

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