The Surface Transportation Board made public its approach for the continuation of the Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc.'s (TRRC) revised proposal to build and operate a new rail line in Montana. This approach takes into account a number of recent changed circumstances and will allow the board to complete its review of TRRC's current plans for a new railroad line.
In December 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision affirming in part the board’s decisions in two of the three Tongue River cases, while making it clear that TRRC may not build any part of the Tongue River Railroad without further environmental review. TRRC also revised plans for the location of the line and a change in ownership of the railroad and stated that the purpose and need for the proposed line have changed. The board is requiring TRRC to file a revised application that presents TRRC’s new proposal to build a rail line between Miles City and Ashland, Mt. The agency will conduct a new environmental review of that plan consistent with the Ninth Circuit’s decision regarding these cases.
In addition, the board is dismissing the Tongue River proceedings concerning related lines that TRRC no longer intends to construct.