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E-M:/ Enviro's win appeal on western coal train to Great Lakes

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

October 3, 2003                         Jim Dougherty (202) 607-7093
                                               Eric Antebi (415) 977-5747


Bush Administration Ignored Clean Air, Global Warming Impacts of Shipping, 
Burning 100 Million Tons of Coal in Midwest

St. Paul, MN -  A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of 
Appeals yesterday rejected a proposal supported by the Bush Administration 
to ship massive amounts of coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin across 
South Dakota and Minnesota.  The panel ruled that the proposal, which has 
roots in Vice President Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force, failed to 
consider the air pollution impacts of burning an additional 100 million 
tons coal annually at a new wave of power plants in the Midwest.

"This was a choice between clean air and the coal lobby, and the courts 
chose clean air, not to mention the rule of law," said Jim Dougherty, an 
attorney representing the Sierra Club South Dakota Chapter, one of groups 
to challenge the proposal.  "We have to count on the courts because the 
Bush administration is too close to the coal industry to look out for the 
health and safety of ordinary people."

The  Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern (DM&E) Railroad sought to extend its 
system to the Powder River Basin coal fields in Wyoming and run coal 
eastward on trains across South Dakota and Minnesota to supply as many as 
50 new power plants in the region. The project would increase the use of 
coal in the United States by approximately 10% of the current total, 
according to federal regulators.

The federal Surface Transportation Board, recently approved the rail 
expansion without considering the health and safety costs of burning coal 
on the other end.   The Sierra Club, Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient 
Economy, the Mayo Clinic, and the Mid States Coalition challenged that 
approach under the National Environmental Policy Act, arguing that the 
coal-burning power plants, and the toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases 
they would generate, would be a direct consequence of the rail project.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concurred, stating, "We believe that 
it would be irresponsible for the Board to approve a project of this scope 
without first examining the effects that may occur as a result of the 
reasonably foreseeable increase in coal consumption."  The court also 
stated that the Board's arguments for not addressing such environmental 
effects were, "at best, illogical."

The Bush Administration has been a major ally of the coal lobby despite the 
fact that coal is a major source of toxic air pollution and greenhouse gas 
emissions.  To support a new wave of power plants, the Cheney Energy Task 
Force specifically recommended tapping coal reserves in Wyoming's Powder 
River Basin and developing a rail system to ship those reserves to the 
Midwest.  The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch have sued to obtain the 
records from secret meetings the Vice President held with the coal 
industry, utility companies, and other corporate energy interests.

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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