IFB members urge lawmakers to oppose GLB railroad

 

The Surface Transportation Board has reviewed the project application and noted several deficiencies.

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By Deana Stroisch

Several hundred Illinois Farm Bureau members in six counties have contacted their state and federal lawmakers to explain how Great Lakes Basin Transportation’s (GLB) proposed rail line would hurt their farming operation.

The action request will continue indefinitely.

IFB’s Board of Directors opposes the proposed three-state, 261-mile rail line, along with several Illinois lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno, and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson. Illinois State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, sponsored a resolution opposing the project.

“Farm Bureau members are asking their state and federal elected officials to oppose an unneeded, unwelcome project that would negatively impact their farms and property rights,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, submitted a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) expressing concern about the project’s impact on farmers, who could have restricted access to fields or may need to sell portions of farmland. He also urged the STB to consider the impact of hazardous cargo spills on residents and wildlife.

“For these reasons, I have serious reservations about this proposal as it currently stands,” Durbin wrote. “I strongly encourage the STB to consider the impact this proposal will have on farmland and communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.”

GLB officially filed an application with the STB May 1 to construct and operate a new toll rail line through Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. STB reviewed the application and noted several deficiencies.

STB requested GLB provide a complete list of counties and cities the railroad would serve by June 22, along with a recent balance sheet and income statement.

It also directed GLB to file a public, unredacted list of its 10 principal stockholders and their respective holdings by June 9. GLB argued disclosure of the shareholders would have an adverse impact on GLB and its principals. STB rejected this assertion.

“To obtain confidential status, a party must do more than simply assert a desire to keep a document confidential,” the order said.

The STB continues to accept public comment on GLB’s application. Stakeholders may submit public comments electronically by clicking here. In the Docket # box, select “FD,” and type 3592 in the second box. 

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