DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Officials with the Surface Transportation Board have released a Final Environmental Impact Statement on the pending merger of the Canadian-Kansas City Southern Railway.
In a 400-page document, the council’s Office of Environmental Analysis reviewed the merger’s potential environmental impact and compared it to no merger at all.
Ultimately, the agency concluded that most of the adverse effects of the merger are “minor, minor, and/or temporary.”
The final statement lists a segment between Sabula, Iowa and Kansas City as the area that would see 14.15 trains per day, the highest potential increase.
In terms of rail safety, the agency found the greatest increase in the likelihood of an accident between Muscatine, Iowa and Ottumwa, Iowa. The report says that incidents in this continent will increase from .32 to .43 per year.
It also found that the average increase in delay occurs when waiting to cross a train on Ripley Street in Davenport.
Meanwhile, the risk of a hazardous material spill that could harm waterways or wildlife was determined to be “Very Low.”
Other areas of low impact included energy use, historic sites and air quality.
However, the study identified noise and vibration as factors that have a negative impact. It found noise receptors in Iowa’s Clinton, Scott and Muscatine counties, three of the four most affected in the nation.
In a statement to TV6 News, CP spokesman Andy Cummings said the company is still reviewing the impact statement.
“We would like to thank the Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis for their thorough review of the proposed CP-KCS combination,” Cummings wrote. “CP remains committed to working with communities as we move forward with this process and await the STB’s decision on the CP-KCS merger application.”
This process lasted 14 months. It started in November 2021 when CP submitted its Notice of Acquisition of KCS. Between then and January 2022, the OEA has determined which factors need to be studied in terms of environmental impact.
In August 2022, the agency released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Between then and October 2022, it received public comments on the merger and its environmental impact.
Finally, on January 27, it released its final EIS
At the time, CP reached settlements with six local governments in the Quad area totaling just over $18 million.
Clinton, LeClair, Bettendorf, Davenport, Muscatine and Fruitland could all receive money if the merger goes through.
The railways did this to offset any negative impact of increased train traffic. The agreements were conditional on the cities not speaking out against the merger.
The impact statement was the final step before the STB made its decision. There is a 30 day wait. The earliest the agency can make a decision is Sunday, February 27.
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