SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT
    Decision Information

Docket Number:  
AB_33_281_X

Case Title:  
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY-ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION-IN ORANGE COUNTY, CAL.

Decision Type:  
Environmental Review

Deciding Body:  
Chief Of Section Of Environmental Analysis

    Decision Summary

Decision Notes:  
CONCLUDED THAT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT PROCESS IS UNNECESSARY AND INVITED PUBLIC COMMENT.

    Decision Attachments

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    Full Text of Decision

35499

40724 SERVICE DATE – APRIL 26, 2010

SEA

 

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD

WASHINGTON, DC 20423

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

 

Docket No. AB 33 (Sub-No. 281X)

 

Union Pacific Railroad Company – Abandonment Exemption –

in Orange County, Cal.

 

BACKGROUND

 

In this proceeding, Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) filed a notice of exemption under 49 C.F.R. 1152.50 seeking exemption from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10903 in connection with the discontinuance of service and abandonment of a line of railroad in Orange County, California. The rail line proposed for abandonment, known as the Brea Chemical Industrial Lead, extends 1.15 miles from Milepost 507.5 to Milepost 508.65 near the City of Brea. A map depicting the line in relationship to the area served is appended to this Environmental Assessment (EA). If the notice becomes effective, the railroad will be able to salvage track, ties and other railroad appurtenances and to dispose of the right-of-way.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE LINE

 

According to UP, the line proposed for abandonment was originally constructed in 1911 by the Pacific Electric Railway. No local traffic has moved over the line during the past two years. There is no overhead traffic or passenger service on the line. Based on information in UP’s possession, the line does not contain Federally granted right-of-way. UP indicates that the right-of-way width is approximately 125 feet. The right-of-way is suitable for alternate public use. UP’s Real Estate Department has negotiated an agreement to sell almost all of the line to the City of Brea for an extension of the City of Brea’s park system. There is no reversionary property on the line. The line is located in an area of mixed commercial, industrial, and residential use. The topography is generally level. UP knows of no historic sites, structures, or archeological resources on the line.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

UP submitted an environmental report that concludes the quality of the human environment would not be affected significantly as a result of the abandonment or any post-abandonment activities, including salvage and disposition of the right-of-way. UP served the environmental report on a number of appropriate Federal, state, and local agencies as required by the Surface Transportation Board’s (Board) environmental rules (49 C.F.R. 1105.7(b)).[1] The Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has reviewed and investigated the record in this proceeding.

 

Diversion of Traffic

 

According to UP, no local traffic has moved over the line for at least two years and there is no overhead traffic on the line. Accordingly, the proposed abandonment would not adversely impact the development, use and transportation of energy resources or recyclable commodities; transportation of ozone-depleting materials; or result in the diversion of rail traffic to truck traffic that could result in significant impacts to air quality or the local transportation network.

 

Salvage Activities

 

Impacts from salvage and disposal of a rail line typically include removal of tracks and ties, removal of ballast, dismantling of any bridges or other structures that may be present on the rail right-of-way, and regrading of the right-of-way. Salvage may be performed within the right-of-way, or, if necessary, via the construction of new access points to the right-of-way.

 

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) has advised SEA that 3 geodetic station markers have been identified that may be affected by the proposed abandonment. Accordingly, we will recommend a condition requiring that UP consult with the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and notify NGS at least 90 days prior to beginning salvage activities that will disturb or destroy any geodetic station markers.

 

Orange County is one of California’s coastal counties subject to state coastal management consistency certification requirements. Accordingly, we are recommending a condition requiring that, prior to beginning any salvage activities, UP shall consult with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to determine whether state coastal management consistency certification is required. If consistency certification is required, the railroad shall be prohibited from performing any salvage activities until it obtains consistency certification and shall then notify the Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis, pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq. and the Board’s environmental regulations at 49 C.F.R. 1105.9.

 

SEA believes that any air emissions associated with salvage operations would be temporary and would not have a significant impact on air quality. Noise associated with salvage activities would also be temporary and should not have a significant impact on the area surrounding the proposed abandonment.

Based on all information available to date, SEA does not believe that salvage activities would cause significant environmental impacts.

 

HISTORIC REVIEW

 

UP served the historic report on the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO), pursuant to 49 C.F.R. 1105.8(c). The SHPO has not yet commented on the historic report, and SEA therefore has not been able to consider the SHPO’s opinion in determining whether the rail line may be potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Accordingly, we are recommending a condition requiring the railroad to retain its interest in and take no steps to alter the historic integrity of all historic properties including sites, buildings, structures and objects within the project right-of-way (the Area of Potential Effect) eligible for listing or listed in the National Register of Historic Places until completion of the Section 106 process. Guidance regarding the Board’s historic preservation review process is available on the Board’s website at http://www.stb.dot.gov/stb/environment/preservation.html.

SEA conducted a search of the Native American Consultation Database at www.cast.uark.edu/other/nps/nacd/ to identify Federally recognized tribes that may have ancestral connections to the project area and no tribes were identified that may have an interest in the proposed abandonment.

 

CONDITIONS

 

We recommend that the following conditions be imposed on any decision granting abandonment authority:

 

1.      Union Pacific Railroad Company shall consult with the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) and notify NGS at least 90 days prior to beginning salvage activities that will disturb or destroy any geodetic station markers.

 

2.      Prior to beginning any salvage activities, Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) shall consult with the California Coastal Commission to determine whether state coastal management consistency certification is required. If consistency certification is required, UP shall be prohibited from performing any salvage activities until it obtains consistency certification and shall then notify the Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis, pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq. and the Board’s environmental regulations at 49 C.F.R. 1105.9.

 

3.      Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) shall retain its interest in and take no steps to alter the historic integrity of all historic properties including sites, buildings, structures, and objects within the project right-of-way (the Area of Potential Effect) that are eligible for listing or listed in the National Register of Historic Places until the Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470f, has been completed. UP shall report back to the Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) regarding any consultations with the State Historic Preservation Office, any other Section 106 consulting parties that have been identified and the public. UP may not file its consummation notice or initiate any salvage activities related to abandonment (including removal of tracks and ties) until the Section 106 process has been completed and the Board has removed this condition.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Based on the information provided from all sources to date, SEA concludes that, as currently proposed, and if the recommended conditions are imposed, abandonment of the line will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Therefore, the environmental impact statement process is unnecessary.

 

Alternatives to the proposed abandonment would include denial (and therefore no change in operations), discontinuance of service without abandonment, and continued operation by another operator. In any of these cases, the existing quality of the human environment and energy consumption should not be affected.

 

PUBLIC USE

 

Following abandonment and salvage of the rail line, the right-of-way may be suitable for other public use. A request containing the requisite four-part showing for imposition of a public use condition (49 C.F.R. 1152.28) must be filed with the Board and served on the railroad within the time specified in the Federal Register notice.

 

TRAILS USE

 

A request for a notice of interim trail use (NITU) is due to the Board, with a copy to the railroad, within 10 days of publication of the notice of exemption in the Federal Register. Nevertheless, the Board will accept late-filed requests as long as it retains jurisdiction to do so in a particular case. This request must comply with the Board’s rules for use of rights-of-way as trails (49 C.F.R. 1152.29).

 

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

 

The Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance responds to questions regarding interim trail use, public use, and other reuse alternatives. You may contact this office directly at (202) 245-0238, or mail inquiries to Surface Transportation Board, Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs, and Compliance, Washington, DC 20423.

 

COMMENTS

 

If you wish to file comments regarding this Environmental Assessment, send an original and two copies to Surface Transportation Board, Case Control Unit, Washington, DC 20423, to the attention of Kenneth Blodgett, who prepared this Environmental Assessment. Environmental comments may also be filed electronically on the Board=s website, www.stb.dot.gov, by clicking on the “E-FILING” link. Please refer to Docket No. AB-33 (Sub-No. 281X) in all correspondence, including e-filings, addressed to the Board. If you have any questions regarding this Environmental Assessment, please contact Kenneth Blodgett, the environmental contact for this case, by phone at (202) 245-0305, fax at (202) 245-0454, or e-mail at blodgettk@stb.dot.gov.

 

Date made available to the public: April 26, 2010.

 

Comment due date: May 11, 2010.

 

By the Board, Victoria Rutson, Chief, Section of Environmental Analysis.

 

 

Attachment



[1] The Environmental and Historic Reports are available for viewing on the Board’s website at www.stb.dot.gov by going to “E-Library,” selecting “Filings,” and then conducting a search for AB-33 (Sub-No. 281X).