|SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD DECISION DOCUMENT|
|ALMANOR RAILROAD COMPANY-ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION-IN PLUMAS AND LASSEN COUNTIES, CA|
|Director Of Proceedings|
|DECISION: (1) REOPENED THIS PROCEEDING; AND (2) MODIFIED THE NOTICE SERVED AND PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER ON FEBRUARY 9, 2010, IN THIS PROCEEDING.|
| 17 KB|
|Approximate download time at 28.8 kb: 28 Seconds|
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|Full Text of Decision|
40609 SERVICE DATE – LATE RELEASE MARCH 11, 2010
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD
STB Docket No. AB-1052X
COMPANY—ABANDONMENT EXEMPTION—IN PLUMAS AND
Decided: March 10, 2010
Railroad Company (AL or the railroad) filed a notice of exemption under
49 CFR 1152 Subpart F–Exempt Abandonments
to abandon a 12.3-mile line of railroad between milepost 0.0, in
The Board’s Section of
Environmental Analysis (SEA) served an environmental assessment (EA) in this
proceeding on February 12, 2010.
In the EA, SEA states that the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) has identified
two geodetic station markers that may be affected by the proposed
abandonment. Therefore, SEA recommends a
SEA also states in the EA that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) responded to the railroad’s environmental report in
correspondence dated December 8, 2009, by providing a threatened and
endangered species list to the railroad and requested that the railroad
identify any potential effects that the proposed abandonment could have on the Federally listed species.
In its environmental report, the railroad indicated that the proposed
abandonment would not harm any of the listed species. However, because the railroad’s conclusion
was not substantiated, SEA was unable to determine from the environmental
report whether any Federally listed threatened or
endangered species exist in the area of the proposed abandonment. The EA states that, due to the temporary
nature of the proposed salvage activities, potential impacts to any such
species could be appropriately mitigated through consultation with the USFWS
pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531
et seq). Therefore, SEA recommends a condition
requiring AL to contact USFWS Endangered Species Program, Sacramento, CA, prior
to beginning salvage activities to discuss potential impacts to any Federally
listed endangered or threatened species (as identified by the USFWS in December
8, 2009 correspondence with the railroad), and that AL report the results of
this consultation to SEA in writing.
Should any potential impacts be identified,
Finally, SEA states in the EA that AL submitted a historic report to the California Office of Historic Preservation (the State Historic Preservation Office or SHPO) as required by 49 CFR 1105.8(c). However, at the time the EA was served, the SHPO had not yet submitted comments in response to the historic report. Accordingly, in the EA, SEA recommended a condition requiring AL to retain its interest in and take no steps to alter the historic integrity of any historic properties, including sites, buildings, structures and objects within the right-of-way (the Area of Potential Effect) that are eligible for listing or listed in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) until the section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470f, has been completed (section 106 process). SEA’s recommended condition also requires that AL report back to SEA regarding any consultations with the SHPO and the public, and that AL not file its consummation notice or initiate any salvage activities related to abandonment (including removal of track and ties) until the section 106 process has been completed and the Board has removed this condition.
Comments to the EA were due by March 1, 2010. On February 17, 2010, SEA received a comment submitted by the SHPO, stating that no historic properties would be affected by the proposed abandonment. Pursuant to the section 106 regulations of the NHPA, and following consultation with the SHPO and the public, SEA has determined that the proposed abandonment would not affect historic properties listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register. Therefore, SEA no longer recommends the imposition of a section 106 condition, and none will be included.
No other comments, other than the public use and trail use requests discussed below, were received. Accordingly, the conditions recommended by SEA in the EA, other than the historic preservation condition, will be imposed.
On February 22, 2010, the Feather
River Land Trust (Feather River) filed a request for the issuance of a notice
of interim trail use (NITU) for the right-of-way under the National Trails
System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) (Trails Act), and the Board’s regulations at 49
Because 16 U.S.C. 1247(d)
permits only voluntary interim trail use, the Board can only issue a NITU if
the railroad agrees to negotiate. Here,
by letter dated March 9, 2010,
As an alternative to interim trail use under the Trails Act, the right-of-way may be acquired for public use, including recreational use, under 49 U.S.C. 10905. See Rail Abandonments—Use of Rights-of-Way as Trails, 2 I.C.C.2d 591, 609 (1986). Under section 10905, the Board may prohibit the disposal of rail properties that are proposed to be abandoned and are appropriate for public purposes for a period of not more than 180 days after the effective date of the decision approving or exempting the abandonment.
To justify a public use condition,
a party must set forth: (1) the
condition sought; (ii) the public importance of the condition; (iii) the period
of time for which the condition would be effective; and (iv) justification for
the imposition of the period of time requested. See 49 CFR 1152.28(a)(2). Because
As conditioned, this action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.
It is ordered:
1. This proceeding is reopened.
2. Upon reconsideration, the notice served and published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2010, exempting the abandonment of the line described above, is modified to require that AL keep intact the right-of-way, including bridges, trestles, culverts and tunnels, for a period of 180 days commencing from the March 11, 2010 effective date of the exemption (until September 7, 2010), to enable any state or local government agency, or other interested person, to negotiate the acquisition of the line for public use, and subject to the conditions that AL shall: (1) consult with NGS and notify NGS at least 90 days prior to beginning any salvage activities that could disturb or destroy any geodetic station markers; and (2) prior to commencement of any salvage activities, contact USFWS Endangered Species Program, Sacramento, CA, to discuss potential impacts to any Federally listed endangered or threatened species (as identified by USFWS in December 9, 2009 correspondence with AL), report the results of these consultations in writing to SEA, and if any potential impacts are identified, consult with SEA and USFWS to develop appropriate mitigation measures.
4. This decision is effective on its service date.
Board, Rachel D.
 On February
23, 2010, SEA received a comment submitted by
 The EA indicated that the right-of-way may be suitable for other public use following abandonment.