Federal appeals court allows railroad extension

A federal appeals court has reversed course and lifted an order halting work on an Alaska Railroad extension project in south-central Alaska.

The decision Wednesday lifts a stay issued last month by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Environmentalists had sued, arguing that they – and the natural environment – would suffer irreparable harm without an emergency stay on construction of the Port MacKenzie rail extension.

A divided three-judge panel in October found there is a “serious question” as to whether the U.S. Surface Transportation Board complied with a federal environmental law in determining the purpose and need of the extension.

Upon further review, however, judges concluded the transportation board complied with the law and the petitioners no longer raised “serious questions.”



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