Opponents urge federal board to reject revival of Tennessee Pass railroad along Arkansas, Eagle rivers
Shipping hazardous material through Arkansas River Valley is “unconscionable,” Chaffee County commissioners say, joining more than 50 residents, business and environmental groups raising opposition to returning trains to long-dormant lines
Opposition to the plan to revive long-dormant rail traffic on Tennessee Pass is growing by the day.
Residents of Chaffee, Lake and Eagle counties buried the Surface Transportation Board this month with opposition to the plan proposed by a Texas-based, short-line operator to begin running freight and possibly passengers on tracks that last saw trains in 1997. Environmental groups, county commissioners and a competitor on Colorado’s Eastern Plains have joined the chorus of opposition, asking the federal transportation board to either reject or further scrutinize the deal.
Chaffee and Eagle county commissioners are weighing in on Rio Grande Pacific Corp.’s push to run crude oil trains on a proposed new railroad in Utah that might lead to tankers of Uinta Basin crude rolling through Avon, Minturn, Buena Vista, Browns Canyon and Salida.
“If we want to stop this train from coming down our valley, then let’s stop the railroad up there in Utah. If it’s not in Utah, there’s no way crude is coming through our valley,” said Chaffee County Commissioner Keith Baker, whose board joined Eagle County commissioners and Town of Avon leaders in enlisting a nationally renowned railroad attorney from Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell to voice their concerns in the environmental review of the proposed Uinta Basin Railway.