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STB draft review finds little environmental impact from Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger

By | August 5, 2022

Draft environmental statement makes few recommendations for mitigation

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Freight train with red locomotives at grade crossing with river in background
Freight train with red locomotives at grade crossing with river in background
With the Mississippi River as a backdrop, a northbound Canadian Pacific train makes its way through Centennial Park in Davenport, Iowa, on May 6, 2022. (David Lassen)

WASHINGTON — The Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger would cause few if any adverse environmental impacts aside from increased train noise in some locations, the Surface Transportation Board said in a draft environmental analysis released on Friday.

The 357-page draft EIS also said the merger would have little effect on rail safety or emergency response times in communities that would see increased train traffic. The draft is accompanied by 4,080 pages of appendices.

But the draft recommends that the railroad work with affected communities for grade crossing mitigation projects where appropriate. Also recommended: Making the railroads’ commitments on environmental matters part of any conditions the STB may impose in the event the merger is approved.

The review took a close look at projected train increases on the combined system’s routes, particularly between Chicago and Laredo, Texas.

“The largest expected change would occur on the CP mainline between Sabula, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri, where the Applicants project that rail traffic would increase by approximately 14.4 trains per day, on average,” the report says. “Other rail lines would experience smaller increases in rail traffic, no change in rail traffic, or a decrease in rail traffic.”

Interested parties have until Sept. 26 to comment on the environmental study.

The board’s environmental office will hold four public meetings on the draft environmental statement. The meetings will be held next month in Itasca, Ill.; Davenport, Iowa; Excelsior Springs, Mo.; and Vidor, Texas. Three online public meetings will be held next month as well, on Sept. 7, 8, and 19.

More information is available on the board’s website.

CP is reviewing the draft environmental impact statement, spokesman Andy Cummings says.

“We remain committed to continuing our work with communities as we advance through this process,” he adds.

6 thoughts on “STB draft review finds little environmental impact from Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger

  1. What I don’t get is there is not suddenly going to be hundreds of more freight cars per day moving between Mexico and Chicago that are not moving today, on other railways.
    So I ask the question, what environmental impact?
    Are we simply just moving the noise/exhaust from one track to another?

    1. Jim, are the opposite environmental impacts going to be reviewed? I.e., Will decreases in environmental impacts from fewer freight cars and possibly fewer trains on UP, BNSF and CN offset the increases on CPKC? Are they allowed to offset their increases with their competitors’s decreases? Sounds like it’s a much to do about nothing.

  2. Gentlemen, conceptually yes but VERY difficult to quantify. First, no one wants to admit publicly as to what traffic they expect to lose. Second, difficult to quantify with multiple main line owners. When we did the CN-EJE acquisition it was very easy to quantify the offsets since virtually all the routes were owned and/or operated by CN.

  3. The Only Class 1 Railroads complaining about the Merger is the UP BNSF and NS all Railroads cross paths the Competition is almost over and Done with So Let’s Move on

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