Letter: Proposed railroad bad for Montana – Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

Categories: Coal, Landowner Rights, News, Northern Plains Resource Council


What is the Tongue River Railroad? I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people out here in western Montana don’t know or care much about the Tongue River Railroad, but we all should. The proposed 42-mile railroad would be built for the sole purpose of hauling coal from a mine that doesn’t exist yet to a port that doesn’t exist yet for a foreign market that is dying.

The federal Surface Transportation Board recently released its draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tongue River Railroad – 42 miles of poorly thought-out corporate hopes and dreams.

This railroad would be built to mine high-sodium, low-demand coal from a mine that doesn’t exist yet and ship to a market that is dying, all while cutting through dozens of landowner’s properties and costing taxpayers’ money. The people who will suffer if this railroad is built are the landowners facing federal condemnation and those of us living between the proposed mine and the proposed port. I live 280 feet from the railroad tracks here in Belgrade and don’t want to see additional train traffic. Unfortunately, the draft EIS is does not fully or accurately examine these issues, the costs, or the reasons for building the railroad.

The federal government needs to hear from Montanans. This railroad will have a major reach across the state. The sub-par quality coal from eastern Montana will head west across the state, and could eventually add 18-26 trains a day across the state. It will be Montana’s taxpayers who shoulder the load for the infrastructure.

Now’s our chance to tell international coal companies and the federal government that we stand up for ourselves. You can submit a comment at http://public.commentworks.com/STB/TongueRiverRailroad/ by Aug. 24, 2015.

Virjeana Brown
Member of Northern Plains Resource Council

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154