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Borough and Railroad stand behind Record of Decision

Written by Patty Sullivan   
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 15:00

RailEISMAT-SU—The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly and the Alaska Railroad Corp. are working together to oppose a court challenge to the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of construction for the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension.

In November 2011, the federal Surface Transportation Board approved a plan proposed by the Alaska Railroad and the Mat-Su Borough to construct a new rail line connecting Port MacKenzie to the railroad’s main line near Houston.

On Jan. 20, three non-profits including Alaska Survival, The Sierra Club, and Cook Inletkeeper filed a legal challenge to the Board’s decision in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal challenge is essentially a request that the court review the Surface Transportation Board’s decision that approved the proposed new rail line. The Borough and the Railroad are filing jointly to intervene in the litigation.

Last night, (Feb. 7) the Assembly directed its attorney to file for intervention. Borough Manager John Moosey and the Assembly stand behind the Record of Decision. The STB spent nearly three years reviewing the potential environmental impacts and explained its findings in a 650-page Environmental Impact Statement. “The decision by the STB is based on the highest environmental standards,” Moosey said. “And we are confident that the decision will stand up to a court challenge.”

Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss emphasized the importance of the project not only to the Borough but the State. “This rail line will bring great economic diversification to the State of Alaska. And we’re going to advocate for it on behalf of our citizens,” DeVilbiss said.

Photo is the final EIS. Taken by Patty Sullivan/MSB.

Find more detail on the process for the court challenge in Petition for Review FAQs

For more information call Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at 907.745.9577 psullivan@matsugov.us

 

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