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Mayo Found. v. Surface Transp. Bd.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20006
Nos. Nos. 06-2031 et al., (8th Cir., 12/28/2006)

The court upheld a Surface Transportation Board decision approving a railroad company's proposal to build approximately 240 miles of new rail line to reach the coal mines of Wyoming's Powder River Basin and to upgrade more than 600 miles of existing rail line in Minnesota and South Dakota. The board thoroughly examined the purposes of the two projects, and this examination informed its conclusion that another rail link did not provide a reasonable alternative to its route through Rochester, Minnesota. The National Environmental Policy Act, therefore, did not require the board to consider the environmental impacts of that alternative, and its decision not to do so was not arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion. Similarly, the board's rejection of a horn noise mitigation measure was not arbitrary and capricious. Lastly, the board more than adequately considered the reasonably foreseeable significant adverse effects of increased coal consumption on the human environment.