STB APPROVES POWER RIVER BASIN RAIL EXPANSION PROJECT
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has approved the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad’s project to build a 280-mile rail line to tap into the coal mines of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
The DM&E project is the largest rail expansion project approved by the agency. It was subject to a number of environmental mitigation conditions and the requirement that the railroad use “environmentally preferable routes.
The DM&E applied to the STB for the expansion in 1998. In a previous decision, the STB found that the new line, if built, should produce transportation benefits by giving the DM&E an opportunity to compete with the Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.
The cost of the project will be about $1.4 billion, which includes $532 million to construct about 280-mile of new line and $876 million to rebuild and upgrade about 600 miles of DM&E’s existing line.
While the STB granted its approval to the DM&E, the railroad’s project still needs approval from the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, Interior Department’s Bureaus of Land Management and Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard.