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Safety Threat to Rochester Still Remains Despite Approval Of Canadian Pacific's Railroad Acquisition Of DM&E
Date:9/30/2008

STB green light does not include measures to protect city against becoming

a high-speed rail corridor for coal and hazardous material shipments

ROCHESTER, Minn., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's ruling by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) granting Canadian Pacific Railway's acquisition of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E) fails as usual to address the significant safety concerns raised by the Rochester Coalition.

After the acquisition was announced in Sept. 2007, Rochester officials and Mayo Clinic made numerous factual submissions to the STB citing significant environmental and safety risks created by increased speed and frequency of rail traffic and the shipment of ethanol and other hazardous materials on unsafe tracks. However, STB officials have ignored the requests for more thorough review and have ruled that it will require future assessment and oversight only if the Canadian Pacific decides to proceed with DM&E's controversial Powder River Basin (PRB) expansion.

"The Coalition has never opposed the Canadian Pacific's acquisition of DM&E. While not surprised by the ruling, we are nonetheless disappointed that our reasonable safety concerns weren't addressed. This failure to protect our community against increased rail traffic and speeds places us at significant risk," said Chris Gade, spokesman for the Rochester Coalition.

Members of the Rochester Coalition have opposed any increase in rail traffic by DM&E and CP through Rochester. "Our ultimate concern is protecting the safety of our community. More frequent train traffic through downtown Rochester increases the odds of a train derailment and disrupts emergency response vehicles. The higher speeds that these trains will travel increases the potential for a more serious derailment and the likelihood that these trains will carry hazardous materials makes the possibility of a terrible human tragedy a reality. It is unacceptable," said Dr. Dan Hankins,
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SOURCE Rochester Coalition
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