The Surface Transportation Board approved the request of Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, for common carrier status, which will allow them to reopen the Tahawus Line between North Creek and Newcomb, N.Y., and resume hauling freight to and from businesses along that line.
Iowa Pacific Holdings has been seeking this rail status for several months and has the support of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Department of Transportation.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Bill Owens applauded the STB decision to provide Iowa Pacific common carrier status, which will allow the rail company to recomission the Tahawus line and begin hauling tailings from the Adirondacks that can then be refined into rare earth elements from Titanium tailings left over from mining during World War II. The representatives noted that the reopening of this line will also cut down the number of truckloads for this work by two million and dramatically reduce harmful emissions. Reconstructing this line will create short-term construction jobs and long-term jobs once hauling begins and would inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy each year.
“The reopening of this rail line will reduce the amount of truck traffic and emissions in the Adirondacks, but will also pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy each year of this project,” said Senator Schumer. “I am thrilled that STB has heeded our call and that reconstruction of the rail line and ensuing economic activity from its completion can benefit the Adirondack Region for years to come.”
According to Iowa Pacific Holdings, about 15 to 20 people would be employed during reconstruction of the track and the completed rail line would pump at least $160,000 into the local economy each year. The company anticipates hauling 100 million tons of material and tailings from the Tahawus mine for this project.