The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers either isn’t keen on public input or is getting lazy with its review of projects in North Idaho. The Corps recently finalized a decision document for a project just downstream of Sandpoint that included a disturbing error (click to see the whole image). But the Corps also happens to be one of the two federal agencies, alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, reviewing the BNSF Railroad’s proposal to construct a second rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille.
The Idaho Conservation League has serious concerns about the environmental risks of another BNSF bridge over the lake — to our source of drinking water, to fish and wildlife habitat, to public safety, and to our quality of life. The agencies are now determining whether the most basic environmental assessment is adequate to consider the risks of the rail traffic that would run through our communities and over Lake Pend Oreille if BNSF is granted permission to build this second rail bridge. Given the potential for a catastrophic train derailment, we strongly believe a comprehensive environmental impact statement is necessary to study how the second bridge would affect Idaho’s water, air, wildlife and public safety.
Statements made by the Corps, like the one cited above, raise doubts as to whether the agency understands that public input is an important part of our democratic process. The concerns of Idahoans ought to be respected and taken seriously by all federal permitting agencies, including the Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard.
Use our form to demand that these agencies address local concerns and respect the public comment process. And tell these agencies to conduct a full environmental impact statement to thoroughly study how the BNSF’s proposal to build another rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille would affect our clean water, clean air and quality of life in North Idaho.