On October 16, 2012, Tongue River Railroad Company, Inc. (TRRC) filed a revised application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board). TRRC intended to construct and operate an approximately 83-mile rail line between Miles City, Montana, and two ending points, one near the site of the previously planned Montco mine near Ashland, Montana, and another at the proposed Otter Creek mine in the Otter Creek area east of Ashland, Montana. On December 17, 2012, TRRC filed a supplemental application with the Board, in which TRRC changed its preferred alignment from the 83-mile Tongue River Alternative to the 42-mile Colstrip Alternative. TRRC's new preferred Colstrip Alternative would generally parallel Greenleaf Road (S-447) rather than follow Roe & Cooper Creek. Because the construction and operation of this project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts, the Board's Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq.).
- Following the February 2014 Section 106 meeting held in Billings, OEA decided to conduct additional cultural resources surveys beginning in May.
- OEA is currently conducting analyses and drafting chapters of the Environmental Impact Statement.
- OEA expects to issue the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in late summer of 2014. Public meetings dates for the Board to receive oral comments on the DEIS will be announced at that time.