Iowa Pacific Holdings’ decision to store old tanker cars on rail line in the Adirondack Park is still a hot topic of conversation; however, there have been some major developments recently. As the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) moves forward to argue that the rail line is “abandoned,” the new owner of the Tahawus mine seeks to re-open the rail line for business.
The Story So Far
In our last story about the growing issue, it was noted that Iowa Pacific Holdings plans to continue storing cars on rail line they own between North Creek and Tahawus unless the lease is purchased and they are fully reimbursed.
The company’s aim is to store up to 2,000 old tanker cars on sections of the rail line in exchange for revenue from outside companies. This would help them fund future railroad projects.
Despite Iowa Pacific Holdings announcing that these tanker cars would be clean before storage, there have been environmental concerns in response to the plan. Local officials, Gov. Cuomo, and even U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer have stated their opposition to the tanker car storage plan, and efforts have been made to end it.
The DEC Makes a Move
As reported by the Adirondack Explorer in a recent article, the DEC is now able to move forward with its forthcoming application to declare the rail line in question “abandoned” thanks to a decision by the federal Surface Transportation Board to waive certain requirements.
The DEC intends to file an application that argues the rail line between North Creek and Tahawus is no longer being operated as a railroad by the owner, and that Iowa Pacific Holdings has no intent in doing so. If the rail line is declared “abandoned” by the federal Surface Transportation Board, then the DEC would be able to enforce its own laws and regulations on the property.
A Different Solution?
At the same time, the new owner of the mines in Tahawus, Paul Mitchell of Paul Mitchell Logging and Mitchell Stone Products, has a plan to work with Iowa Pacific Holdings and their subsidiary, Saratoga & North Creek Railway, to transport material along the controversial rail line.
If Mitchell is able to kick-start this rail business, then it’s possible that the tanker car storage plan would end. In an article by the Post-Star, Mitchell stated “the storage effort would be moot with freight cars moving up and down the line again.”
Both of these new developments could have a major impact on the tanker car storage plan, but until then, the discussion will continue.