Monthly Archives: November 2014

C100 Challenges Approval of CSX Twin Tunnels in Federal Court

c100

C100 Challenges Approval of CSX Twin Tunnels

in Federal Court

Asks that no permits be issued

 

PRESS RELEASE                                         Contact: Monte Edwards
For Immediate Release                                   monte.edwards@verizon.net

November 11, 2014                                                 202/543-3504

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City (C100) is filing suit to challenge the decision last Tuesday by the Federal Highway Administration and District Department of Transportation to allow for new, twin tunnels, double-stacked trains, and years of hazardous construction in a vibrant, growing community.  The decision was announced as a “Record of Decision” (ROD) at the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consideration of the CSX plan.

 

“This decision is unlawful, premature and problematic,” said C100 Vice President, Monte Edwards.  “The Record of Decision fails to address the severe safety and security impacts the proposed project will have on the immediate community and on Capitol Hill, the constraint on the expansion of passenger and commuter rail service in the District, and the pre-approval by DDOT of the project before any environmental review had been conducted.”

 

Edwards also emphasized that there is no need to rush-to-judgment on the CSX proposal. The EIS expressly states that the current CSX tunnel has “decades” left of useful service.  In addition, Maryland’s recent rejection of CSX’s proposed double-stacking terminal in Baltimore undercut CSX’s primary rational for building the two new tunnels in the District, as the Baltimore bottleneck remains.

 

“Issuance of the Record of Decision ends the administrative process, and litigation is the only option to obtain a new EIS that addresses our concerns. Until we have a new EIS, no permits should be granted by the District or federal officials,” Edwards concluded.

 

The C100 will file suit on Wednesday, November 12.  Simultaneously with the filing of the Complaint, the Committee will file a motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit any further action until the District Court for the District of Columbia can rule on whether the Environmental Impact Statement – on which FWHA and DDOT were co-lead agencies – violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and District law.  The C100 is represented by Les Alderman of Alderman, Devorsetz & Hora PLLC.  Mr. Alderman can be reached at lalderman @ adhlawfirm. com or 202-969-8220.

 

The C100 will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM on Wednesday November 12.  The conference will be on the front steps of the US District Courthouse at 333 Constitution Avenue.  Nancy MacWood and Monte Edwards, officers of the C 100, Maureen Cohen Harrington – a member of the Committee, whose home is immediately adjacent to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel – Natalie Skimore of DCSafeRail, Meredith Fascett, the newly-elected ANC Commissioner for the area, and Les Alderman, among others, will be available to answer questions about the Committee’s concerns and the lawsuit at that time.

 

Full PDF of Press Release available here: Press release VAT 11-10-14m-3docx-2 (1)

Community Rejects Approval of CSX Tunnel; Calls on DC Council to Intervene

For Release: November 4th, 2014

Contact: Natalie Skidmore, 202.657.1911, Twitter @DCSafeRail, Facebook.com/DCSafeRail

Community Rejects Approval of CSX Tunnel; Calls on DC Council to Intervene

Demonstration to Urge No District Permits Until New Environmental Statement

Community groups and individuals living near the proposed CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Southeast DC firmly and categorically rejected the move today by the Federal Highway Administration and District Department of Transportation to rubber stamp the Record of Decision under the Environmental Impact Statement review process.  CSX’s proposal calls for two tunnels which will increase CSX’s right of way and permit freight trains to operate in a partially open trench during the multi-year construction project.  Documents only recently released by DDOT show that agency secretly pre-approved the double tunnel construction as early as 2010.

Because the DC Council is currently undertaking a comprehensive Rail Plan study, District residents firmly believe the rush to approve this project is premature.  Therefore, these residents are calling on the DC Council to enact legislation putting a moratorium on further rail permits until the Rail Plan is finalized.  The residents are planning a demonstration to voice these concerns as follows:

What: DCSafeRail ‘No CSX Tunnel’ Demonstration

Where: U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters, New Jersey Ave. and M St. SE

When: 6pm-7pm tonight

“This decision shows that the public has never been treated fairly.  Our concerns – namely the grave public health and safety risks posed by the project and how passenger and commuter rail in the District can expand – have consistently been ignored. And we know now that DDOT had pre-approved CSX’s preferred plan from the very beginning before any environmental review had been conducted,” said Helen Douglas of DCSafeRail, the group against the expanded tunnels. “This project should NOT be granted any permits until the appropriate answers are provided, including waiting for completion of the Council’s Rail Plan so that its analyses and conclusions are part of a new or modified environmental review.”

DCSafeRail also points out that there is ample, recent precedent for a local rejection of a private rail project that threatens the health and safety of its citizens.  Specifically, Maryland transportation officials cancelled a long-planned CSX intermodal rail facility in the Morrell Park neighborhood of Baltimore because the proposal, according to Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, had created a burden “at the expense of our residents and local businesses.”  DCSafeRail also notes that the Environmental Impact Statement directly states that the current tunnel has “decades” of useful life, thus allowing time for good planning for the environment and the District’s transportation future.