• Savage Tooele Railroad: Construction Approved

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Jeff Smith
PDF: https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... /52080.pdf
Docket No. FD 36616
Digest:1 This decision authorizes Savage Tooele Railroad Company to construct and operate approximately 11 miles of rail line in Tooele County, Utah, subject to certain environmental mitigation conditions.
Decided: April 1, 2024
On June 30, 2022, Savage Tooele Railroad Company (STR),2 a noncarrier, filed a petition for exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901 to construct and operate approximately 11 miles of rail line in Tooele County, Utah (the Line), connecting the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) Shafter Subdivision mainline at approximately milepost 897.94 near Burmester, Utah, to the new Lakeview Business Park in Grantsville, Utah (the Park). STR explains that the Line would reestablish the former Warner Branch connection to UP’s Shafter Subdivision at Burmester, Utah, and that STR would provide common carrier service over the Line to enable tenants of the industrial park to ship and receive commodities and other products by rail. STR asked the Board to issue a preliminary decision addressing the transportation merits of the Line while the environmental review process was underway.
In a decision served on August 24, 2022, the Board instituted a proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 10502(b) and sought clarification on the plans for the right-of-way and track located between milepost 0.0 and milepost 1.04. Savage Tooele R.R.—Const. & Operation Exemption—Line of R.R. in Tooele Cnty., Utah, FD 36616, slip op. at 2 (STB served Aug. 24, 2022). Later, in a decision served on March 30, 2023, the Board denied STR’s request for the Board to preliminarily address the transportation merits of the proposed Line prior to the completion of the environmental review process. See Savage Tooele R.R., FD 36616 (STB served Mar. 30, 2023) (with Board Members Fuchs and Schultz dissenting). The Board concluded that STR had not shown any “unique or compelling circumstances” to justify a conditional grant. Id. at 2-3. No comments opposing the transportation merits of STR’s petition were filed.
The Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) on September 29, 2023, analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the Line and requesting public comments, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4370m-11. A Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) containing additional environmental analysis and responding to the comments received on the Draft EA was issued on March 1, 2024. The Final EA recommends environmental conditions, including voluntary mitigation measures proposed by STR and mitigation developed by OEA, to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the potential environmental impacts of the proposed construction and operation of the Line.
After considering both the rail transportation merits and the potential environmental impacts, the Board will grant STR’s petition for exemption, authorizing STR to construct and operate over the Line, subject to the environmental mitigation measures set forth in the Final EA (attached as Appendix A).