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E-M:/ Heads UP, Rails to Trails and Central UP folks, Marquette to Munising Rail Abandonment

Enviro-Mich message from asagady@sojourn.com

[Federal Register: November 21, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 225)]
[Page 62401-62402]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Surface Transportation Board
[STB Docket No. AB-303 (Sub-No. 17X)]

Wisconsin Central Ltd.--Abandonment Exemption--in Marquette and 
Alger Counties, MI

    Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WCL) has filed a notice of exemption under 
49 CFR 1152 Subpart F--Exempt Abandonments abandon approximately 37.3-
mile line of railroad on the Marquette-Munising Line, between milepost 
154, at a point east of Marquette, and milepost 116.7 in Munising 
Junction, in Marquette and Alger Counties, MI. The line traverses 
United States Postal Service Zip Codes 49806, 49822, 49855 and 49862.
    WCL has certified that: (1) no local traffic has moved over the 
line for at least 2 years; (2) any overhead traffic on the line can be 
rerouted; (3) no formal complaint filed by a user of rail service on 
the line (or by a state or local government entity acting on behalf of 
such user) regarding cessation of service over the line either is 
pending with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) or with any U.S. 
District Court or has been decided in favor of complainant within the 
2-year period; and (4) the requirements at 49 CFR 1105.7 (environmental 
reports), 49 CFR 1105.8 (historic reports), 49 CFR 1105.11 (transmittal 
letter), 49 CFR 1105.12 (newspaper publication), and 49 CFR 
1152.50(d)(1) (notice to governmental agencies) have been met.
    As a condition to this exemption, any employee adversely affected 
by the abandonment shall be protected under Oregon Short Line R. Co.--
Abandonment--Goshen, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). To address whether this 
condition adequately protects affected employees, a petition for 
partial revocation under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) must be filed. Provided no 
formal expression of intent to file an offer of financial assistance 
(OFA) has been received, this exemption will be effective on December 
21, 1997, unless stayed pending reconsideration.<SUP>1</SUP> Petitions 
to stay that do not involve environmental issues,<SUP>2</SUP> formal 
expressions of intent to file an OFA under 49 CFR 
1152.27(c)(2),<SUP>3</SUP> and trail use/rail banking requests under 49 
CFR 1152.29 must be filed by December 1, 1997. Petitions to reopen or 
requests for public use conditions under 49 CFR 1152.28 must be filed 
by December 11, 1997, with: Surface Transportation Board, Office of the 
Secretary, Case Control Unit, 1925 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC 

    \1\ WCL has stated that it will not consummate the proposed 
abandonment until the pending petition to revoke in Sault Ste. Marie 
Bridge Company--Acquisition and Operation Exemption--Lines of Union 
Pacific Railroad Company, STB Finance Docket No. 33290, has been 
resolved, but that in no event will it consummate the abandonment 
before January 5, 1998.
    \2\ The Board will grant a stay if an informed decision on 
environmental issues (whether raised by a party or by the Board's 
Section of Environmental Analysis in its independent investigation) 
cannot be made before the exemption's effective date. See Exemption 
of Out-of-Service Rail Lines, 5 I.C.C. 2d 377 (1989). Any request 
for a stay should be filed as soon as possible so that the Board may 
take appropriate action before the exemption's effective date.
    \3\ Each offer of financial assistance must be accompanied by 
the filing fee, which currently is set at $900. See 49 CFR 

    A copy of any petition filed with the Board should be sent to 
applicant's representative: Michael J. Barron, Jr., Wisconsin Central 
Ltd., P.O. Box 5062, Rosemont, IL 60017-5062.
    If the verified notice contains false or misleading information, 
the exemption is void ab initio.
    WCL has filed an environmental report which addresses the 
abandonment's effects, if any, on the environment and historic 
resources. The Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) will issue an 
environmental assessment (EA) by November 26, 1997. Interested persons 
may obtain a copy of the EA by writing to SEA (Room 500, Surface 
Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423) or by calling SEA, at (202) 
565-1545. Comments on environmental and historic preservation matters 
must be filed within 15 days after the EA becomes available to the 
    Environmental, historic preservation, public use, or trail use/rail 

[[Page 62402]]

conditions will be imposed, where appropriate, in a subsequent 
    Pursuant to the provisions of 49 CFR 1152.29(e)(2), WCL shall file 
a notice of consummation with the Board to signify that it has 
exercised the authority granted and fully abandoned the line. If 
consummation has not been effected by WCL's filing of a notice of 
consummation by November 21, 1998, and there are no legal or regulatory 
barriers to consummation, the authority to abandon will automatically 

    Decided: November 17, 1997.

    By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of 
Vernon A. Williams,
[FR Doc. 97-30667 Filed 11-20-97; 8:45 am]

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