C100 Challenges Approval of CSX Twin Tunnels in Federal Court

C100

(photo caption: From left to right: Natalie Skidmore, DCSafeRail, Meredith Fascett, newly-elected ANC Commissioner for ANC 6D07, Maureen Cohen Harrington, C100 member and Virginia Avenue resident, Monte Edwards, C100 Vice President, and Les Alderman, C100 attorney.)

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City (C100) is filing suit to challenge the decision by the Federal Highway Administration and District Department of Transportation to allow for new, twin tunnels, double-stacked trains, and years of hazardous construction in a vibrant, growing community. The decision was announced as a “Record of Decision” (ROD) at the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consideration of the CSX plan.

“This decision is unlawful, premature, and problematic,” said C100 Vice President Monte Edwards. “The Record of Decision fails to address the severe safety and security impacts the proposed project will have on the immediate community and on Capitol Hill, the constraint on the expansion of passenger and commuter rail service in the District, and the pre-approval by DDOT of the project before any environmental review had been conducted.”

Edwards also emphasized that there is no need to rush to judgment on the CSX proposal. The EIS expressly states that the current CSX tunnel has “decades” left of useful service. In addition, Maryland’s recent rejection of CSX’s proposed double-stacking terminal in Baltimore undercut CSX’s primary rationale for building the two new tunnels in the District, as the Baltimore bottleneck remains.

“Issuance of the Record of Decision ends the administrative process, and litigation is the only option to obtain a new EIS that addresses our concerns. Until we have a new EIS, no permits should be granted by the District or federal officials,” Edwards concluded.

The C100 filed suit on Wednesday, Nov.12. Simultaneously with the filing of the Complaint, the Committee filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit any further action until the District Court for the District of Columbia can rule on whether the Environmental Impact Statement – on which FWHA and DDOT were co-lead agencies – violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and District law. The C100 is represented by Les Alderman of Alderman, Devorsetz & Hora PLLC. Mr. Alderman can be reached at lalderman@adhlawfirm.com or 202-969-8220.

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