Letter: Tongue River Railroad: Delay is good news for Montana – Missoulian, July 27, 2014

July 28, 2014

Categories: Coal, News


The recent delay of the Tongue River Railroad (detailed in the July 18 article, “Coal railroad’s delay reflects hurdle for exports”) is a blow for out-of-state corporations but good news for Montanans. This railroad’s sole purpose would be to haul coal mined by St. Louis-based Arch Coal from southeast Montana to existing rail lines, from which the coal would be exported to China and other overseas markets. This scheme leaves Montanans to deal with the pollution costs of mining and transporting coal, while Arch gets rich off exports that will never generate one watt of U.S. electricity.

If the Tongue River Railroad gets built, it will lead to more dirty coal trains passing through Montana towns including Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula. It’s because of concerns about coal train traffic that the Missoula City Council recently passed a resolution requesting the Federal Surface Transportation Board to hold a hearing in Missoula during its review of the new railroad project. Now that this review has been set back until next year, the STB should use the extra time to ensure that the voices of all affected stakeholders are heard.

Montanans deserve a chance to express our concerns about dirty coal trains directly to decision-making officials. The STB should hold hearings in Missoula and other rail line towns before completing its review of the Tongue River Railroad. In the meantime, we should be thankful for every month that this misguided project is not built.

Cate Campbell


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