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Railway in Arkansas and Eagle River Corridors to Receive More Scrutiny (CO)

Posted: 02/05/2021
By: Kestrel Kunz

Last week, we urged you to send your comments to the federal Surface Transportation Board asking them to deny Colorado, Midland & Pacific Railway's (CMPR) request to be exempted from important regulatory proceedings regarding their proposed lease and operation of the Tennessee Pass rail line. The rail line traverses the Arkansas and Eagle Rivers in Colorado and has been inactive for almost 25 years. Today, rather than approving their exemption, the Surface Transporation Board (STB) has postponed a decision on the exemption, in part due to the comments submitted by American Whitewater and our members. On January 22, American Whitewater formally petitioned the STB to stay (or postpone) the effective date of the exemption in order to conduct a more thorough review of CMPR's proposed lease and operations on the Tennessee Pass Line and we additionally requested a complete and thorough environmental review of the project. While our full request has not been approved by the STB, their move to postpone their decision on the exemption until further review of all comments and objections is worth celebrating. 


STB's notice published today stated that: "Additionaly, Friends of Browns Canyon and a coalition of entities led by American Whitewater have filed motions to reject the verified notice of exemption filed in Docket No. FD 36471. Some parties have asked the Board to stay the effective date of the lease and operation exemption, and others have called for an environmental review of the proposed transaction." And "to provide sufficient time for the Board to fully consider the verified notices and arguments presented, including whether the verified notices should be rejected, the exemptions in Docket Nos. FD 36470 and FD 36471 will not become effective until further order of the Board." We thank the STB for their diligence to fully review the numerous comments and motions that have been submitted in opposition of the Tennessee Pass Line exemption. 


American Whitewater will continue to track the Tennessee Pass issue closely and will share updates and action opportunities as they arise. Finally, we want to thank the nearly 700 paddlers that took action against Colorado, Midland & Pacific Railway's inappropriate notice for exemption. Overwhelmingly participation from the paddling community played a key role in arguing that the proposed operations are indeed controversial. 


Kestrel Kunz

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