Nine CARS Members Sue Wisconsin DNR Over BNSF LaCrosse Rail Expansion Permit

La Crosse, WI – On Monday March 9, nine citizens concerned with the proposed expansion of rail lines carrying crude oil through the Upper Mississippi River Basin filed a legal challenge to the Wisconsin DNR’s decision to issue a wetland fill and bridge permit to BNSF Railway. The citizens say the DNR’s environmental analysis of the project didn’t comply with the law. They are asking the court to reverse the DNR’s decision to grant the permit and require the agency to prepare an environmental analysis that complies with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act.
Numerous residents of La Crosse and the surrounding area raised concerns about indirect and cumulative impacts of the project including:

  • the risk of environmental harm and threat to public safety from a train derailment carrying hazardous materials such as crude oil,
  • a Bald Eagle nest within 600 feet of the railroad tracks,
  • disturbance to neighbors from increased noise, vibration and pollution from more and more frequent trains passing through,
  • yet another wetland fill in the La Crosse River Marsh that has already been reduced to half its size from previous developments, and
  • impacts from construction and operation of the second track on the Mississippi River which is near to and downstream from the La Crosse River Marsh.

The DNR failed to consider these impacts in its decision.

After 5 fiery rail explosions in 5 weeks, we encourage citizens to contact governors, state and federal lawmakers, and the White House to share concerns and demand an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of all railroads in the St. Paul Region (MN, WI and northeast IA) -  and demand a stop to unsafe trains.
Citizens who write or call officials make a difference! 

News Links:
Group files challenge to La Crosse rail expansion process
La Crosse area residents sue to block BNSF expansion
Local contest BNSF permit approval
La Crosse Residents File Suit Over BNSF Permit
Citizens concerned with DNR process to permit rail expansion file legal challenge

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