Citizens Acting for Rail Safety, or C.A.R.S. believes its pending lawsuit against the DNR is about principle, not necessarily halting construction of a second rail line through the marsh.
“Throughout the entire process, we've been concerned that corners have been cut in looking at the environmental impacts of the expansion of the rail,” Ralph Knutson, a member of C.A.R.S., said.
The group claims the DNR did not require BNSF to complete an “environmental impact study,” something it said is required by law.
“The DNR has chosen not to look at the impact of the overall area,” Knutson said. “It's essentially saying we're only going to look exactly where the rail is. And we're saying no, this is really not part of your mission.”
The group recently filed a stay with Judge Scott Horne, who is overseeing the civil suit.
“We want the court to make a decision before they're done with the construction and it's essentially a moot point,” he said. “At the very least we want to delay the construction while the DNR looks into alternative construction methods and an environmental impact statement.”
Knutson said the group wants the DNR to follow the law-and protocol, by requiring a deeper look into the adverse affects on the environment before issuing future permits.
“There are going to be 30 or so more similar permits issued as they continue to work on this project, and we want to set a precedent that this is the right way to go about this process,” he said.