Not directly dealing with the NYSW, but on the same topic
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl ... 80405/1004
Democrats rally to keep trash off railroad line
Officials want federal law changed
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 04/28/07
BY BOB JORDAN
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Leading local Democrats and Gov. Corzine's environmental commissioner rallied Friday for changes in federal law to allow states to regulate solid waste facilities located along rail lines.
"I can't imagine that many residents would support putting giant mounds of garbage on this land without any oversight or regulation from the state," said Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., at a news conference near the rail line where a garbage collection point could — under existing laws — be built without community involvement.
Pallone represents the Sixth Congressional District — which does not include Freehold Township but does cover Red Bank, where a solid waste facility along a rail line was proposed last year. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., whose Fourth Congressional District includes part of Freehold Township, could not be reached for comment.
State Sen. Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth, said a plan by Ashland Railroad to create a solid waste transfer station on 10 acres of open land on Route 33 near Kozloski Road, could go unchecked if federal law isn't changed.
"The frustration to me is that we can't debate these facilities on their merits," Karcher said. "There is no legitimate access point for the community on these proposals."
Pallone and Karcher were joined by Monmouth County Freeholder Barbara McMorrow and Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson of the state Department of Environmental Protection. The site proposal calls for the facility to be built near a 1.5-mile rail line connecting to another line that runs through much of Monmouth and neighboring counties.
A loophole in federal legislation enables the rail industry to operate such facilities free from various state permitting requirements, Jackson said.
Pallone and other members of Congress from New Jersey recently introduced legislation that would close the loophole. The measure has not advanced.
Under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995, federal regulators have exclusive jurisdiction over transportation by rail and have the ability to grant federal pre-emption over state and local regulators, officials said.
"I assure you this loophole was not the intent of Congress," Pallone said. "There has to be some federal exemptions for railroads, or else railroads could never be built through the different towns. But for a solid waste station? That's not the same thing."
Jackson said the waste at such a site would likely include large amounts of construction debris.
"Construction debris sounds kind of innocent, but with that you have asbestos, lead, pipes, heavy metals," Jackson said. "The runoff from those materials could contain the same things. That's why it has to be made clear in Congress that it's not a transportation issue, it's a health and safety issue."
McMorrow said the county Board of Freeholders has passed a resolution opposing the proposed trash facility.
"It's not good for Monmouth County. It's not good for any county," McMorrow said.
A principal in the Freehold Township proposal is G. David Crane, the owner and operator of Ashland Railroad. Crane's company is involved in the rail shipment of waste in Ohio.
There are currently about 15 loosely regulated solid-waste rail transfer stations in New Jersey, officials said.
I think a balance needs to be struck - the railroads shouldn't be able to come into an area and do whatever they want (the arrogance of the RR industry is UNBELIEVEABLE) - however, the locals shouldn't restrict what the RRs can or cant do.
Putting in sprinklers is a common sense kind of thing - 1) keeps the dust down, 2) keeps fire out. the railroad (any railroad) won't do ANYTHING more than it has to. This is something that SHOULD be done.
If done right and a proper compromise reached, all could benefit - the railroads, the towns the people in the towns, with less trucks on the roads (overall, but an increase in truck traffic to get to the facility) a controlled and SAFE location to transfer the debris (who knows what is in that garbage - im SURE not every contractor/homeowner takes the proper procedure for disposing of asbetos (sp), for example - finally and more importantly - the railroad gets car loadings.
Pissing off the people in town (who also use the businesses of the customers of the railroad as well) is not a good way to drum up business and get new contracts, and also possibly hurts existing contracts and customers with the "bad will" of them being served by the "evil railroad"
The railroads are doing it because they can. Maybe its time to possibly change that a lilttle bit. It will benefit everyone in the end.