Ameren Energy Generating Company-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Coffeen and Walshville, IL, 9633-9637 [E6-2655]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 37 / Friday, February 24, 2006 / Notices premium, in lieu of 20% of the bond premium. The proposed increase in fees to Surety companies and small businesses will take effect on April 3, 2006. SBA invites public comments on the above stated fee increase. Please clearly identify paper and electronic comments as ‘‘Public Comments on Fee Increases under the SBG Program,’’ and send them to the contact person listed in the ADDRESSES section of the preamble. Authority: 13 CFR 115.32(b) and (c) and 115.66. Frank Lalumiere, Associate Administrator, Office of Surety Guarantees. [FR Doc. E6–2679 Filed 2–23–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [STB Finance Docket No. 34834] wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES State of Texas, Acting by and Through the Texas Department of Transportation—Acquisition Exemption—Union Pacific Railroad Company The State of Texas, acting by and through the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), a noncarrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 to acquire the rights, title, and interest in certain personal and real property of a line of railroad from Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP). The line consists of a portion of the Bonham Subdivision extending between milepost 94.0 near Paris, and milepost 127.5 near Bonham, in Lamar and Fannin Counties, TX, a distance of approximately 33.5 miles. The Board previously authorized the Fannin Rural Rail Transportation District (FRRTD), a political subdivision of the State of Texas, to acquire from UP and operate the above-described rail line through the offer of financial assistance process.1 After having reached an agreement with UP for the sale of the line but before consummating the transaction, FRRTD sold its interests in the rail line to TXDOT. In consideration of FRRTD’s agreement to sell its interests, TXDOT agreed to provide the funds to acquire the rail line from UP and to lease back the properties so that FRRTD, or its operator could perform freight rail service over the rail 1 See Union Pacific Railroad Company— Abandonment Exemption—In Lamar and Fannin Counties, TX, STB Docket No. AB–33 (Sub-No. 163X) (STB served Aug. 19, 2003). VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Feb 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 line.2 The sale of the line by UP to TXDOT was consummated and closed on September 21, 2005. TXDOT states that it will retain the residual common carrier obligation as part of its lease and operating agreement with FRRTD to ensure the viability of the corridor should FRRTD fail in its efforts to restore the line. TXDOT has filed this notice of exemption to cure its inadvertent failure to obtain prior Board approval of the sale to TXDOT rather than FRRTD. The exemption authorized by this notice became effective on February 9, 2006 (7 days after the notice was filed). TXDOT certifies that its projected revenues as a result of this transaction will not exceed those of a Class III rail carrier. If the notice contains false or misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio. Petitions to revoke the exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) may be filed at any time. The filing of a petition to revoke will not automatically stay the transaction. An original and 10 copies of all pleadings, referring to STB Finance Docket No. 34834, must be filed with the Surface Transportation Board, 1925 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20423– 0001. In addition, one copy of each pleading must be served on Richard H. Streeter, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, 750 17th Street, NW., Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006. Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at ‘‘https:// www.stb.dot.gov.’’ Decided: February 15, 2006. By the Board, David M. Konschnik, Director, Office of Proceedings. Vernon A. Williams, Secretary. [FR Doc. 06–1598 Filed 2–23–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [STB Finance Docket No. 34435] Ameren Energy Generating Company—Construction and Operation Exemption—in Coffeen and Walshville, IL By petition filed on February 5, 2004, Ameren Energy Generating Company (AEGC or petitioner), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (Ameren), on behalf of itself and Coffeen and Western Railroad Company 2 TXDOT states that an appropriate notice will be filed in the event an operator is hired by FRRTD. PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 9633 (CWRC), its railroad subsidiary,1 seeks an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901, to allow the construction and operation of approximately 13 miles of rail line. The line would run between AEGC’s Coffeen Power Plant near Coffeen, IL, and separate connections with the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) near Walshville, IL. In a decision served on May 5, 2004, the Board instituted a proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 10502(b). On May 26, 2004, Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) filed a notice of appearance and initial comments, to which AEGC and CWRC replied on June 22, 2004.2 The Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) conducted an environmental review of the proposed construction and alternatives to the proposal. A detailed Environmental Assessment (EA), prepared by SEA, was issued for public review and comment on May 25, 2005. SEA then prepared a Post Environmental Assessment (Post EA) dated January 13, 2006. The Post EA considers all the comments received on the EA, reflects SEA’s further independent analysis, and sets forth SEA’s final recommended environmental mitigation. After considering the entire record, including both the transportation aspects of the petition and the potential environmental issues, we will grant the requested exemption, subject to the environmental mitigation measures recommended in the Post EA, which are set forth in the Appendix. Background Ameren’s electric generating facilities provide energy services to 1.7 million electric customers and have a net generating capacity of more than 14,500 megawatts. The Coffeen Power Plant is a 900-megawatt facility and, at full capacity, can burn approximately 450 tons of coal to produce 6.7 million 1 Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Ameren ERC, Inc., Ameren controls the Missouri Central Railroad Company (MCRR). See Ameren Corporation—Control Exemption—Missouri Central Railroad Company, STB Finance Docket No. 33805 (STB served Nov. 5, 1999). In addition, Ameren owns a 60% interest in Electric Energy, Inc. (EEI), an exempt wholesale generator with 1,087 megawatts of capacity. Through EEI, Ameren controls the Joppa & Eastern Railroad (JERR). Ameren has obtained authority to control MCRR, JERR, and CWRC. Ameren Corporation—Control Exemption—Coffeen and Western Railroad Company, STB Finance Docket No. 34498 (STB served May 10, 2004). 2 By decision served July 9, 2004, the Board denied a motion filed June 2, 2004, by CWRC to strike as irrelevant and inappropriate NS’s initial comments. E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 9634 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 37 / Friday, February 24, 2006 / Notices pounds of steam per hour. The plant annually receives approximately 2.5 million tons of coal, most of which comes via NS from the Monterey Mine near Macoupin, IL. NS currently transports the coal south from the Monterey Mine toward St. Louis, MO, and then north to a connection with BNSF at Litchfield, IL. From Litchfield, NS operates via trackage rights on BNSF track southeast to Sorento, IL, where it returns to its own track again for the last 12 miles east to the Coffeen Power Plant. AEGC states that the final 12-mile stretch of track is an island of NS track because NS has abandoned the sections of track to the east and the west. According to petitioner, NS does not serve any other shippers on this segment. AEGC states that, since 2003, the coal mine currently supplying coal to the Coffeen Power Plant has had occasional difficulties providing the tonnage that Ameren needs. This concern, along with Ameren’s overall desire to lower fuel costs by maximizing the fuel source and transportation options at its plants, led Ameren to investigate rail service alternatives that would provide more flexible and reliable service from a broader range of coal mine origins. AEGC states that Ameren considered various potential routes that might be available to connect the Coffeen Power Plant to the lines of both UP and BNSF, each of which has access to numerous coal mines throughout the West. One route (referred to here as Route A) would consist of an approximately 13mile line that starts at Coffeen and travels southwest and roughly parallel to the NS track for approximately 1 mile. It would then cross the NS line and closely follow existing transmission lines until near its end, where it would fork into two short segments that connect to the separate lines of UP and BNSF, both of which are near Walshville. A second route (referred to here as Route B) would require NS to voluntarily agree to sell, lease, or otherwise allow Ameren to use the existing 12-mile island track. AEGC would then construct a 5-mile rail line from a point near the end of NS’s line at Sorento north to connections with UP and BNSF lines near Walshville. AEGC considers Route B preferable, but states that, if construction and operation of that line is not possible, it would construct and operate the longer Route A line instead. Either of the proposed rail lines would provide the Coffeen Power Plant with direct access to rail lines of both UP and BNSF. AEGC states that Ameren would finance the construction of the line and VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Feb 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 that CWRC would undertake the actual construction. The record indicates that CWRC might operate the line, or that Ameren might enter into a contract with another carrier to conduct the operations. In either case, the rail line would be operated as a common carrier rail line and other shippers could request service. AEGC states that, if another carrier were to operate the line, CWRC would retain a residual common carrier obligation to provide rail service. AEGC states that the proposed buildout would increase competition by providing the Coffeen Power Plant with direct access to the services of two additional rail carriers. It explains that this increase in rail transportation options would increase the plant’s fuel source options, thereby increasing plant reliability and decreasing the plant’s total costs of operation. According to AEGC, this proposal is the kind of transaction that should qualify for an exemption from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901. It notes that the ICC Termination Act of 1995 3 liberalized the public convenience and necessity (PC&N) test of section 10901 so that there is now a presumption that a proposed rail construction project should be approved.4 NS has not directly opposed the proposed construction. However, it has raised concerns about the use of the Board’s summary class exemption procedures at 49 CFR 1150.31 when CWRC was authorized to become a common carrier.5 NS does not specifically ask for revocation of the exemption in that proceeding, but states that it is ‘‘troubled’’ by CWRC’s creation through the filing of a notice of exemption, and asks the Board to consider reviewing the class exemption procedures generally. Discussion and Conclusions Rail Transportation Analysis The construction and operation of railroad lines require prior Board authorization, either through issuance of a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 10901 or, as requested here, by granting an exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the formal application procedures of section 10901. Under section 10502, we 3 Pub. L. No. 104–88, 109 Stat. 803 (1995). 49 U.S.C. 10901, we must authorize the construction and operation of a new line ‘‘unless the Board finds that such activities are inconsistent with the public convenience and necessity.’’ 5 Coffeen and Western Railroad Company—Lease and Operation Exemption—Near Coffeen, IL, STB Finance Docket No. 34497 (STB served May 10, 2004). By that notice, CWRC obtained an exemption to lease from AEGC and operate approximately 0.2 miles of rail line near Coffeen, IL. 4 Under PO 00000 Frm 00122 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 must exempt a proposed rail line construction from the detailed application procedures of section 10901 when we find that: (1) Those procedures are not necessary to carry out the rail transportation policy (RTP) of 49 U.S.C. 10101; and (2) either (a) the proposal is of limited scope, or (b) the full application procedures are not necessary to protect shippers from an abuse of market power. Here, based on the information provided, we conclude that detailed scrutiny of the proposed construction and operation under 49 U.S.C. 10901 is not necessary to carry out the RTP, and that therefore the proposed construction project is appropriate for handling under the exemption process. The proposed rail line will increase the rail transportation options available to Ameren and its subsidiaries, as well as other area shippers, and thus will enable shippers to realize the benefits of increased railroad competition [49 U.S.C. 10101(1) and (4)]. Moreover, exempting the proposed construction and operation from 49 U.S.C. 10901 will reduce the need for Federal regulation, ensure the development of a sound transportation system with effective competition among rail carriers, foster sound economic conditions, and reduce regulatory barriers to entry [49 U.S.C. 10101(2), (4), (5), and (7)]. Nothing in the record indicates that the proposal would adversely affect other aspects of the RTP. Use of the formal application procedures here is not necessary to protect shippers from an abuse of market power. Rather, the proposed rail line will provide the area with additional transportation options and enhanced competition. Given our finding regarding the lack of need for shipper protection, we need not determine whether the transaction is limited in scope. NS does not oppose this build-out proposal. Nor is there any evidence on the transportation related aspects of this case suggesting that the construction proposal does not qualify for our exemption procedures or is otherwise improper. NS has expressed concerns about the procedure by which CWRC was authorized to become a common carrier in a different proceeding. However, this proceeding is not the appropriate vehicle for reevaluating our procedures in that case or our class exemption procedures generally. Consequently, we see no need on this record to address NS’s concerns further.6 6 We will not, as requested by NS (June 14, 2004 response at 8–9), make CWRC’s authorization to be E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 37 / Friday, February 24, 2006 / Notices Environmental Analysis In reaching our decision, we have also analyzed the environmental impacts associated with this construction proposal by fully considering the EA, Post EA, and the entire environmental record. Based on the environmental record, we have also assessed the two alternative routes that could be constructed and what environmental mitigation to impose. 1. The Requirements of NEPA The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321–43, requires Federal agencies to examine the environmental effects of proposed Federal actions and to inform the public concerning those effects. Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 462 U.S. 87, 97 (1983). Under NEPA and related environmental laws, we must consider significant potential beneficial and adverse environmental impacts in deciding whether to authorize a railroad construction as proposed, deny the proposal, or grant it with conditions (including environmental mitigation conditions). The purpose of NEPA is to focus the attention of the government and the public on the likely environmental consequences of a proposed action before it is implemented, in order to minimize or avoid potential adverse environmental impacts. Marsh v. Oregon Natural Resources Council, 490 U.S. 360, 371 (1989). While NEPA prescribes the process that must be followed, it does not mandate a particular result. Mid States Coalition for Progress v. STB, 345 F.3d 520, 533– 34 (8th Cir. 2003). Thus, once the adverse environmental effects have been adequately identified and evaluated, we may conclude that other values outweigh the environmental costs. Robertson v. Methow, 490 U.S. 332, 350–51 (1989). wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES 2. The Environmental Review Process As noted above, in this case an EA was issued for public review and comment on May 25, 2005. In the EA, SEA preliminarily concluded, based on the information provided from all sources as of the date of the EA, as well as its independent analysis, that the construction and operation of AEGC’s proposed rail line (using either Route A a common carrier contingent upon the approval and construction of the proposed build-out. CWRC has already obtained the authority to be a common carrier in STB Finance Docket No. 34497. The additional authority granted to CWRC here, to operate the rail line proposed here, could only be exercised if this line is built; thus, there is no need to make this new operating authority contingent upon construction of the rail line. VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Feb 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 or Route B) would have no significant environmental impacts if the mitigation measures recommended in the EA were imposed. Prior to completion of the EA, AEGC had voluntarily proposed extensive environmental mitigation measures for the proposed project. SEA preliminarily recommended that we impose this mitigation, and some additional environmental conditions, on any decision granting the petition for exemption. Comments on the EA were filed by: NS; the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA); the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 (USEPA); the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). AEGC replied to some of the comments. After considering the comments to the EA and the reply, SEA prepared a Post EA, dated January 13, 2006, in which it revised some of the mitigation recommended in the EA.7 Specifically, SEA recommended the addition of the following mitigation: Mitigation measure 52, which addresses permitting requirements from IEPA; mitigation measure 50, which addresses Best Management Practices to prevent soil erosion; mitigation measure 28, which concerns drainage and potential erosion; mitigation measure 29, which addresses Best Management Practices for long-term maintenance of culverts and bridges; and mitigation measure 23, which imposes a 3-year mitigation monitoring and management program. Additionally, SEA recommends modifying its previously recommended mitigation measure 14, which concerns retention of woody debris and mulching. Finally, the Post EA states that the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has completed its review under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470f, and has concluded that no historic properties would be affected by the proposed project. Accordingly, SEA recommends that the mitigation measure that pertains to that process (former mitigation measure 47) not be imposed. SEA determined that, with its final recommended mitigation, neither Route A nor Route B would have significant environmental impacts. However, SEA designated Route B as environmentally preferable, because it would require only about 4.6 miles of new rail line construction, compared to Route A’s 7 To the extent SEA’s final recommended mitigation measures would affect AEGC’s voluntary mitigation measures, AEGC agreed to SEA’s recommended revisions. PO 00000 Frm 00123 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 9635 approximately 13 miles of new line construction. 3. Our Conclusions on the Environmental Issues After carefully reviewing the entire environmental record, we adopt all of SEA’s analysis and conclusions, including those not specifically discussed here. We are satisfied that SEA took the requisite ‘‘hard look’’ at potential environmental impacts and accurately identified and independently evaluated the potential environmental effects associated with the project. With respect to alternatives, we identify Route B as the preferred alternative, because it would be shorter. But we also find that petitioner may construct Route A, because, as the analysis in the EA and Post EA demonstrates, construction and operation of either alternative would have no significant environmental impacts with SEA’s final recommended mitigation conditions, all of which we will impose. A list of all of our conditions, including both the voluntary mitigation developed by petitioner and SEA’s own mitigation recommendations, is set forth in the Appendix to this decision. Other Matters Finally, AEGC has requested that, if we grant its requested exemption, we should also revoke the exemption to the extent necessary to summarily issue a PC&N certificate in order to facilitate a potential crossing mentioned in its petition for exemption. Under 49 U.S.C. 10901(d), the Board may order a rail carrier to allow another constructing carrier to cross its property ‘‘[w]hen a certificate has been issued * * *,’’ so long as the construction and operation of the crossing do not materially interfere with the crossed carrier’s operations and the crossed carrier is compensated. Keokuk Junction Ry. Co. v. STB, 292 F.3d 884 (D.C. Cir. 2002). However, in a construction exemption proceeding, the Board only issues a section 10901 certificate in response to a petition to cross. See The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company—Petition for Declaration or Prescription of Crossing, Trackage, or Joint Use Rights, STB Finance Docket No. 33740 (STB served May 13, 2003). AEGC has not filed a petition to cross, but merely states that it ‘‘may need to seek crossing authority.’’ It would therefore be premature to issue a section 10901 certificate at this time. Conclusion We find, after weighing the various transportation and environmental E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 9636 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 37 / Friday, February 24, 2006 / Notices concerns and considering the entire record, that the petition for exemption should be granted and that petitioner may build either Route A or Route B, subject to compliance with the environmental mitigation listed in the Appendix to this decision. As conditioned, this action will not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources. It is ordered 1. Under 49 U.S.C. 10502, the Board exempts AEGC’s construction and CWRC’s operation of the abovedescribed line from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901. 2. The Board adopts the environmental mitigation measures set forth in the Appendix to this decision, and imposes them as a condition to the exemption granted in this proceeding. 3. AEGC’s motion to revoke the exemption to the extent necessary to issue a PC&N certificate is denied. 4. Notice will be published in the Federal Register on February 24, 2006. 5. Petitions to reopen must be filed by March 16, 2006. 6. The decision is effective on March 26, 2006. By the Board, Chairman Buttrey and Vice Chairman Mulvey. Vernon A. Williams, Secretary. Appendix wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES AEGC’S Voluntary Mitigation Measures AEGC voluntarily proposes to incorporate the following mitigation measures into the proposed project. Transportation and Traffic Safety 1. AEGC shall install, at its sole cost, the necessary signage, lighting, and safety warnings for all at-grade crossings as approved and permitted by the Illinois Commerce Commission (Routes A and B). 2. AEGC agrees to install, at its sole cost, flashers/gates at County Road 9/Panama Avenue to elevate safety at this grade crossing as requested by the Bond County Engineer (Route B only). 3. In order to minimize delays of vehicular traffic during construction of the road crossings, AEGC shall schedule the work so that construction of the roadway approaches would be completed before construction work within the roadway occurs (Routes A and B). 4. To the extent applicable, AEGC shall require the track contractor to pre-build track panels for the grade crossings (Routes A and B). 5. AEGC shall place detour signs and detour traffic around work sites as applicable. At least one month before road crossing construction would begin, AEGC shall notify and provide information to the nearest fire department and emergency VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Feb 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 response units and notify the County, Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois Department of Transportation of the planned roadway construction schedule (Routes A and B). 6. To the maximum extent feasible, AEGC shall construct the proposed grade crossings during the summer months when school is out of session. If road crossing construction cannot occur during the summer months, AEGC shall, at least one month before road crossing construction is scheduled to begin, notify and provide information to the applicable school districts regarding the days and times that road construction is planned. AEGC shall consider school bus schedules in planning and executing the necessary road work (Routes A and B). 7. AEGC shall coordinate with NS, as necessary, regarding construction of the proposed Route A crossing of NS in order to prevent construction activities from interfering with NS operations over its line (Route A only). 8. AEGC shall coordinate with NS, as necessary, to prevent rail operations over the proposed Route A crossing of NS from interfering with NS operations over its line (Route A only). 9 AEGC shall make reasonable efforts to identify all utilities that are reasonably expected to be materially affected by the proposed construction within the right-ofway. AEGC shall work with each utility to determine the appropriate project-related modification needed, if any, and enter into an agreement regarding the same, if necessary. AEGC shall pay all project-related costs associated with these modifications or adjustments (Routes A and B). 10. AEGC shall ensure that the contractor it selects to perform all maintenance and inspections shall do so in compliance with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) standards. AEGC shall also ensure that its contractor uses practices recommended by American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association for projectrelated construction (Routes A and B). 11. AEGC shall limit the maximum train speed on Route A to 45 mph and on Route B to 40 mph (Routes A and B). Land Use 12. AEGC shall work with farmers and ranchers to remedy actual damage to crops, pastures, or rangelands caused by projectrelated construction (Routes A and B). 13. AEGC shall negotiate with affected landowners to provide private crossings, where appropriate, to minimize severance impacts (Routes A and B). 14. AEGC shall ensure all construction debris is disposed of in a proper and legal manner consistent with all applicable Federal, state, and local disposal procedures. To the maximum extent feasible, AEGC shall ensure that woody debris resulting from right-of-way clearing activities during rail line construction is left on-site in forested areas as wildlife habitat. Regarding woody debris that cannot be left on-site, AEGC shall take reasonable steps to mulch the trees for residential or community use within the project area (Routes A and B). 15. AEGC shall limit construction activities and vegetation clearing to the proposed right- PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of-way, to the extent possible (Routes A and B). 16. Should any land not owned by AEGC be directly disturbed by project-related construction, AEGC shall restore such areas to their original condition, as may be reasonably necessary, upon completion of project-related construction (Routes A and B). 17. AEGC’s project-related construction vehicles, equipment, and workers shall not access work areas by crossing residential properties without the permission of the property owners (Routes A and B). 18. AEGC shall coordinate with the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding any agreement needed for the crossing of the state-owned land near Illinois Route 127 (Route A only). Geology/Soils 19. AEGC shall limit ground disturbance to only the areas necessary for project-related construction activities (Routes A and B). 20. AEGC shall commence reclamation of disturbed areas as soon as practicable after project-related construction ends along a particular stretch of rail line. The goal of reclamation shall be the rapid and permanent reestablishment of native ground cover on disturbed areas (Routes A and B). 21. During project-related construction, AEGC shall take reasonable steps to ensure that contractors use fill material appropriate for the project area (Routes A and B). Water Resources/Wetlands 22. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to utilize Best Management Practices, to include: a. Practices to reduce erosion and sedimentation that could occur as a result of construction, including along slopes and in channels (Routes A and B); b. Disturbance of the smallest area possible around water resources (Routes A and B); c. Reseeding of areas as soon as practicable to prevent erosion (Routes A and B); d. If necessary, use of seeding fiber mats, straw mulch, plastic lined slope drains, and silt dikes (Routes A and B); e. Use of native species where practicable for revegetation (Routes A and B); f. Development of a spill prevention plan prior to construction, including measures to be taken in case any spills occur (Routes A and B); g. Maintaining construction and maintenance vehicles in good working order (Routes A and B); h. Daily inspections of all equipment for any fuel, lube oil, hydraulic, or antifreeze leaks. If leaks are found, the contractor shall immediately remove the equipment from service and repair or replace it and remediate the spill (Routes A and B); i. Practices to control turbidity and disturbance to bottom sediments during project-related construction of the proposed Coffeen Lake crossing (Route A only). 23. AEGC shall implement a monitoring and management program covering a minimum of three years to ensure that mitigation activities are successful (Routes A and B). E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1 wwhite on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 37 / Friday, February 24, 2006 / Notices 24. AEGC shall develop a bridge maintenance plan in compliance with FRA regulations (Routes A and B). 25. Culvert construction in streams with significant water flow that could not be barricaded shall have a by-pass channel cut adjacent to the site to accommodate ‘‘normal’’ flow conditions (Routes A and B). 26. Culvert construction in streams not having significant flow and that could be barricaded shall have a pump(s) set up to pass the water through the placement/ construction site (Routes A and B). 27. Erosion control measures at culvert construction sites shall remain in place until the permanent culvert construction process is completed (Routes A and B). 28. AEGC shall ensure drainage and evaluate potential erosion concerns that may arise downstream of structures installed across the drainageways (Routes A and B). 29. AEGC shall use Best Management Practices for long-term maintenance of culverts and bridges along the proposed rail line (Routes A and B). 30. AEGC shall construct the proposed rail line in such a way as to maintain current drainage patterns to the extent practicable (Routes A and B). 31. Where appropriate, AEGC shall work with farmers on any drainage issues which might arise (Routes A and B). 32. AEGC shall prohibit project-related construction vehicles from driving in or crossing streams at other than established crossing points (Routes A and B). 33. AEGC shall coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regarding the appropriate wetland mitigation (Routes A and B). 34. AEGC shall construct all project-related drainage crossing structures to pass a 100year flood and AEGC shall coordinate with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to ensure the new floodplain crossings are appropriately designed to minimize impacts (Routes A and B). 35. For wells located within the proposed right-of-way but outside the grading limits, AEGC shall cap or otherwise close those wells in accordance with state regulations (Routes A and B). 36. AEGC shall require that appropriate vegetation control measures are followed and that herbicides applied during right-of-way vegetation control procedures are approved by USEPA for such purposes (Routes A and B). 37. AEGC shall require that the company conducting vegetation control procedures is licensed to do so (Routes A and B). 38. In order to prevent the potential disbursement of sprayed substances to adjacent drainageways and wetlands, AEGC shall require that herbicide spraying not be undertaken on days with high winds and that on marginally windy days, an additive may be used to minimize any potential impact (Routes A and B). Biological Resources 39. The proposed Route A crossings of Lake Fork, Shoal Creek, and Bearcat Creek shall be bridged, thereby reducing potential VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Feb 23, 2006 Jkt 208001 9637 impacts to the river otter habitat (Route A only). 40. The culvert crossing at Grove Branch on Route B shall be sized to minimize any impacts to the river otter habitat (Route B only). 41. The proposed culverts at Stream 19 and other intermittent streams shall be sized to minimize any natural resource impacts (Routes A and B). of conducting mist net surveys to determine if Indiana bats are present. AEGC shall report the outcome of these consultations with the USFWS to SEA (Route B only). 52. AEGC shall coordinate with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to obtain any permits required from that agency (Routes A and B). Air Quality 42. AEGC shall follow Federal, state, and local regulations regarding the control of fugitive dust emissions. This may include spraying water, applying a magnesium chloride treatment, placing tarp covers on vehicles, and installing wind barriers, if necessary (Routes A and B). 43. AEGC shall work with its contractors to make sure that construction and maintenance equipment is properly maintained and that mufflers and other required pollution-control devices are in working condition in order to limit construction-related air emissions (Routes A and B). 44. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to obtain the necessary burning permits to dispose of vegetation and other debris cleared from the proposed rail rightof-way (Routes A and B). BILLING CODE 4915–01–P Noise and Vibration 45. AEGC shall work with its construction contractor to minimize, to the extent practicable, construction-related noise disturbances near any residential areas (Routes A and B). 46. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to maintain project-related construction and maintenance vehicles in good working order with properly functioning mufflers to control noise (Routes A and B). 47. AEGC shall use continuously welded rail and rail lubricants, as practicable, on the newly constructed line in order to reduce wheel/rail wayside noise (Routes A and B). 48. AEGC shall require, as practicable, its contractor(s) to comply with FRA regulations that establish decibel limits for train operations and locomotive noise standards (Routes A and B). Additional Mitigation 49. AEGC shall comply with any reasonable stream/wetland mitigation that may be required as part of its project-related permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act (Routes A and B). 50. As site-specific erosion and sediment control and other Best Management Practices plans are developed, AEGC shall provide copies of these plans to NRCS (Routes A and B). 51. As requested by USFWS, in order to avoid impacting the Indiana bat, AEGC shall ensure that any project-related tree clearing activities in Bond County not occur during the period of April 1 to September 30. If treeclearing during this time period cannot be avoided, AEGC shall consult with USFWS prior to tree clearing regarding the necessity PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 [FR Doc. E6–2655 Filed 2–23–06; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 5452 Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Department of the Treasury, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). Currently, the IRS is soliciting comments concerning Form 5452, Corporate Report of Nondividend Distributions. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before April 25, 2006 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Glenn Kirkland, Internal Revenue Service, room 6512, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20224. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the form and instructions should be directed to Larnice Mack at Internal Revenue Service, room 6512, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20224, or at (202) 622– 3179, or through the Internet at (Larnice.Mack@irs.gov). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Corporate Report of Nondividend Distributions. OMB Number: 1545–0205. Form Number: 5452. Abstract: Form 5452 is used by corporations to report their nontaxable distributions as required by Internal Revenue Code section 604(d)(2). The information is used by IRS to verify that the distributions are nontaxable as claimed. Current Actions: There are no changes being made to Form 5452 at this time. E:\FR\FM\24FEN1.SGM 24FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 37 (Friday, February 24, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9633-9637]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-2655]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Surface Transportation Board

[STB Finance Docket No. 34435]


Ameren Energy Generating Company--Construction and Operation 
Exemption--in Coffeen and Walshville, IL

    By petition filed on February 5, 2004, Ameren Energy Generating 
Company (AEGC or petitioner), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameren 
Corporation (Ameren), on behalf of itself and Coffeen and Western 
Railroad Company (CWRC), its railroad subsidiary,\1\ seeks an exemption 
under 49 U.S.C. 10502 from the prior approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
10901, to allow the construction and operation of approximately 13 
miles of rail line. The line would run between AEGC's Coffeen Power 
Plant near Coffeen, IL, and separate connections with the Union Pacific 
Railroad Company (UP) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) near Walshville, 
IL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Ameren ERC, Inc., Ameren 
controls the Missouri Central Railroad Company (MCRR). See Ameren 
Corporation--Control Exemption--Missouri Central Railroad Company, 
STB Finance Docket No. 33805 (STB served Nov. 5, 1999). In addition, 
Ameren owns a 60% interest in Electric Energy, Inc. (EEI), an exempt 
wholesale generator with 1,087 megawatts of capacity. Through EEI, 
Ameren controls the Joppa & Eastern Railroad (JERR). Ameren has 
obtained authority to control MCRR, JERR, and CWRC. Ameren 
Corporation--Control Exemption--Coffeen and Western Railroad 
Company, STB Finance Docket No. 34498 (STB served May 10, 2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In a decision served on May 5, 2004, the Board instituted a 
proceeding under 49 U.S.C. 10502(b). On May 26, 2004, Norfolk Southern 
Railway Company (NS) filed a notice of appearance and initial comments, 
to which AEGC and CWRC replied on June 22, 2004.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ By decision served July 9, 2004, the Board denied a motion 
filed June 2, 2004, by CWRC to strike as irrelevant and 
inappropriate NS's initial comments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Board's Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) conducted an 
environmental review of the proposed construction and alternatives to 
the proposal. A detailed Environmental Assessment (EA), prepared by 
SEA, was issued for public review and comment on May 25, 2005. SEA then 
prepared a Post Environmental Assessment (Post EA) dated January 13, 
2006. The Post EA considers all the comments received on the EA, 
reflects SEA's further independent analysis, and sets forth SEA's final 
recommended environmental mitigation.
    After considering the entire record, including both the 
transportation aspects of the petition and the potential environmental 
issues, we will grant the requested exemption, subject to the 
environmental mitigation measures recommended in the Post EA, which are 
set forth in the Appendix.

Background

    Ameren's electric generating facilities provide energy services to 
1.7 million electric customers and have a net generating capacity of 
more than 14,500 megawatts. The Coffeen Power Plant is a 900-megawatt 
facility and, at full capacity, can burn approximately 450 tons of coal 
to produce 6.7 million

[[Page 9634]]

pounds of steam per hour. The plant annually receives approximately 2.5 
million tons of coal, most of which comes via NS from the Monterey Mine 
near Macoupin, IL.
    NS currently transports the coal south from the Monterey Mine 
toward St. Louis, MO, and then north to a connection with BNSF at 
Litchfield, IL. From Litchfield, NS operates via trackage rights on 
BNSF track southeast to Sorento, IL, where it returns to its own track 
again for the last 12 miles east to the Coffeen Power Plant. AEGC 
states that the final 12-mile stretch of track is an island of NS track 
because NS has abandoned the sections of track to the east and the 
west. According to petitioner, NS does not serve any other shippers on 
this segment.
    AEGC states that, since 2003, the coal mine currently supplying 
coal to the Coffeen Power Plant has had occasional difficulties 
providing the tonnage that Ameren needs. This concern, along with 
Ameren's overall desire to lower fuel costs by maximizing the fuel 
source and transportation options at its plants, led Ameren to 
investigate rail service alternatives that would provide more flexible 
and reliable service from a broader range of coal mine origins.
    AEGC states that Ameren considered various potential routes that 
might be available to connect the Coffeen Power Plant to the lines of 
both UP and BNSF, each of which has access to numerous coal mines 
throughout the West. One route (referred to here as Route A) would 
consist of an approximately 13-mile line that starts at Coffeen and 
travels southwest and roughly parallel to the NS track for 
approximately 1 mile. It would then cross the NS line and closely 
follow existing transmission lines until near its end, where it would 
fork into two short segments that connect to the separate lines of UP 
and BNSF, both of which are near Walshville.
    A second route (referred to here as Route B) would require NS to 
voluntarily agree to sell, lease, or otherwise allow Ameren to use the 
existing 12-mile island track. AEGC would then construct a 5-mile rail 
line from a point near the end of NS's line at Sorento north to 
connections with UP and BNSF lines near Walshville. AEGC considers 
Route B preferable, but states that, if construction and operation of 
that line is not possible, it would construct and operate the longer 
Route A line instead. Either of the proposed rail lines would provide 
the Coffeen Power Plant with direct access to rail lines of both UP and 
BNSF.
    AEGC states that Ameren would finance the construction of the line 
and that CWRC would undertake the actual construction. The record 
indicates that CWRC might operate the line, or that Ameren might enter 
into a contract with another carrier to conduct the operations. In 
either case, the rail line would be operated as a common carrier rail 
line and other shippers could request service. AEGC states that, if 
another carrier were to operate the line, CWRC would retain a residual 
common carrier obligation to provide rail service.
    AEGC states that the proposed build-out would increase competition 
by providing the Coffeen Power Plant with direct access to the services 
of two additional rail carriers. It explains that this increase in rail 
transportation options would increase the plant's fuel source options, 
thereby increasing plant reliability and decreasing the plant's total 
costs of operation. According to AEGC, this proposal is the kind of 
transaction that should qualify for an exemption from the prior 
approval requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901. It notes that the ICC 
Termination Act of 1995 \3\ liberalized the public convenience and 
necessity (PC&N) test of section 10901 so that there is now a 
presumption that a proposed rail construction project should be 
approved.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Pub. L. No. 104-88, 109 Stat. 803 (1995).
    \4\ Under 49 U.S.C. 10901, we must authorize the construction 
and operation of a new line ``unless the Board finds that such 
activities are inconsistent with the public convenience and 
necessity.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NS has not directly opposed the proposed construction. However, it 
has raised concerns about the use of the Board's summary class 
exemption procedures at 49 CFR 1150.31 when CWRC was authorized to 
become a common carrier.\5\ NS does not specifically ask for revocation 
of the exemption in that proceeding, but states that it is ``troubled'' 
by CWRC's creation through the filing of a notice of exemption, and 
asks the Board to consider reviewing the class exemption procedures 
generally.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Coffeen and Western Railroad Company--Lease and Operation 
Exemption--Near Coffeen, IL, STB Finance Docket No. 34497 (STB 
served May 10, 2004). By that notice, CWRC obtained an exemption to 
lease from AEGC and operate approximately 0.2 miles of rail line 
near Coffeen, IL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Discussion and Conclusions

Rail Transportation Analysis

    The construction and operation of railroad lines require prior 
Board authorization, either through issuance of a certificate under 49 
U.S.C. 10901 or, as requested here, by granting an exemption under 49 
U.S.C. 10502 from the formal application procedures of section 10901. 
Under section 10502, we must exempt a proposed rail line construction 
from the detailed application procedures of section 10901 when we find 
that: (1) Those procedures are not necessary to carry out the rail 
transportation policy (RTP) of 49 U.S.C. 10101; and (2) either (a) the 
proposal is of limited scope, or (b) the full application procedures 
are not necessary to protect shippers from an abuse of market power.
    Here, based on the information provided, we conclude that detailed 
scrutiny of the proposed construction and operation under 49 U.S.C. 
10901 is not necessary to carry out the RTP, and that therefore the 
proposed construction project is appropriate for handling under the 
exemption process. The proposed rail line will increase the rail 
transportation options available to Ameren and its subsidiaries, as 
well as other area shippers, and thus will enable shippers to realize 
the benefits of increased railroad competition [49 U.S.C. 10101(1) and 
(4)]. Moreover, exempting the proposed construction and operation from 
49 U.S.C. 10901 will reduce the need for Federal regulation, ensure the 
development of a sound transportation system with effective competition 
among rail carriers, foster sound economic conditions, and reduce 
regulatory barriers to entry [49 U.S.C. 10101(2), (4), (5), and (7)]. 
Nothing in the record indicates that the proposal would adversely 
affect other aspects of the RTP.
    Use of the formal application procedures here is not necessary to 
protect shippers from an abuse of market power. Rather, the proposed 
rail line will provide the area with additional transportation options 
and enhanced competition. Given our finding regarding the lack of need 
for shipper protection, we need not determine whether the transaction 
is limited in scope.
    NS does not oppose this build-out proposal. Nor is there any 
evidence on the transportation related aspects of this case suggesting 
that the construction proposal does not qualify for our exemption 
procedures or is otherwise improper. NS has expressed concerns about 
the procedure by which CWRC was authorized to become a common carrier 
in a different proceeding. However, this proceeding is not the 
appropriate vehicle for reevaluating our procedures in that case or our 
class exemption procedures generally. Consequently, we see no need on 
this record to address NS's concerns further.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ We will not, as requested by NS (June 14, 2004 response at 
8-9), make CWRC's authorization to be a common carrier contingent 
upon the approval and construction of the proposed build-out. CWRC 
has already obtained the authority to be a common carrier in STB 
Finance Docket No. 34497. The additional authority granted to CWRC 
here, to operate the rail line proposed here, could only be 
exercised if this line is built; thus, there is no need to make this 
new operating authority contingent upon construction of the rail 
line.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 9635]]

Environmental Analysis

    In reaching our decision, we have also analyzed the environmental 
impacts associated with this construction proposal by fully considering 
the EA, Post EA, and the entire environmental record. Based on the 
environmental record, we have also assessed the two alternative routes 
that could be constructed and what environmental mitigation to impose.
1. The Requirements of NEPA
    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-43, 
requires Federal agencies to examine the environmental effects of 
proposed Federal actions and to inform the public concerning those 
effects. Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Natural Resources Defense 
Council, 462 U.S. 87, 97 (1983). Under NEPA and related environmental 
laws, we must consider significant potential beneficial and adverse 
environmental impacts in deciding whether to authorize a railroad 
construction as proposed, deny the proposal, or grant it with 
conditions (including environmental mitigation conditions). The purpose 
of NEPA is to focus the attention of the government and the public on 
the likely environmental consequences of a proposed action before it is 
implemented, in order to minimize or avoid potential adverse 
environmental impacts. Marsh v. Oregon Natural Resources Council, 490 
U.S. 360, 371 (1989). While NEPA prescribes the process that must be 
followed, it does not mandate a particular result. Mid States Coalition 
for Progress v. STB, 345 F.3d 520, 533-34 (8th Cir. 2003). Thus, once 
the adverse environmental effects have been adequately identified and 
evaluated, we may conclude that other values outweigh the environmental 
costs. Robertson v. Methow, 490 U.S. 332, 350-51 (1989).
2. The Environmental Review Process
    As noted above, in this case an EA was issued for public review and 
comment on May 25, 2005. In the EA, SEA preliminarily concluded, based 
on the information provided from all sources as of the date of the EA, 
as well as its independent analysis, that the construction and 
operation of AEGC's proposed rail line (using either Route A or Route 
B) would have no significant environmental impacts if the mitigation 
measures recommended in the EA were imposed. Prior to completion of the 
EA, AEGC had voluntarily proposed extensive environmental mitigation 
measures for the proposed project. SEA preliminarily recommended that 
we impose this mitigation, and some additional environmental 
conditions, on any decision granting the petition for exemption.
    Comments on the EA were filed by: NS; the Illinois Environmental 
Protection Agency (IEPA); the United States Environmental Protection 
Agency, Region 5 (USEPA); the Natural Resources Conservation Service 
(NRCS); and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). AEGC replied to 
some of the comments. After considering the comments to the EA and the 
reply, SEA prepared a Post EA, dated January 13, 2006, in which it 
revised some of the mitigation recommended in the EA.\7\ Specifically, 
SEA recommended the addition of the following mitigation: Mitigation 
measure 52, which addresses permitting requirements from IEPA; 
mitigation measure 50, which addresses Best Management Practices to 
prevent soil erosion; mitigation measure 28, which concerns drainage 
and potential erosion; mitigation measure 29, which addresses Best 
Management Practices for long-term maintenance of culverts and bridges; 
and mitigation measure 23, which imposes a 3-year mitigation monitoring 
and management program. Additionally, SEA recommends modifying its 
previously recommended mitigation measure 14, which concerns retention 
of woody debris and mulching. Finally, the Post EA states that the 
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has completed its review under 
section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470f, 
and has concluded that no historic properties would be affected by the 
proposed project. Accordingly, SEA recommends that the mitigation 
measure that pertains to that process (former mitigation measure 47) 
not be imposed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ To the extent SEA's final recommended mitigation measures 
would affect AEGC's voluntary mitigation measures, AEGC agreed to 
SEA's recommended revisions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SEA determined that, with its final recommended mitigation, neither 
Route A nor Route B would have significant environmental impacts. 
However, SEA designated Route B as environmentally preferable, because 
it would require only about 4.6 miles of new rail line construction, 
compared to Route A's approximately 13 miles of new line construction.
3. Our Conclusions on the Environmental Issues
    After carefully reviewing the entire environmental record, we adopt 
all of SEA's analysis and conclusions, including those not specifically 
discussed here. We are satisfied that SEA took the requisite ``hard 
look'' at potential environmental impacts and accurately identified and 
independently evaluated the potential environmental effects associated 
with the project.
    With respect to alternatives, we identify Route B as the preferred 
alternative, because it would be shorter. But we also find that 
petitioner may construct Route A, because, as the analysis in the EA 
and Post EA demonstrates, construction and operation of either 
alternative would have no significant environmental impacts with SEA's 
final recommended mitigation conditions, all of which we will impose. A 
list of all of our conditions, including both the voluntary mitigation 
developed by petitioner and SEA's own mitigation recommendations, is 
set forth in the Appendix to this decision.

Other Matters

    Finally, AEGC has requested that, if we grant its requested 
exemption, we should also revoke the exemption to the extent necessary 
to summarily issue a PC&N certificate in order to facilitate a 
potential crossing mentioned in its petition for exemption. Under 49 
U.S.C. 10901(d), the Board may order a rail carrier to allow another 
constructing carrier to cross its property ``[w]hen a certificate has 
been issued * * *,'' so long as the construction and operation of the 
crossing do not materially interfere with the crossed carrier's 
operations and the crossed carrier is compensated. Keokuk Junction Ry. 
Co. v. STB, 292 F.3d 884 (D.C. Cir. 2002). However, in a construction 
exemption proceeding, the Board only issues a section 10901 certificate 
in response to a petition to cross. See The Burlington Northern and 
Santa Fe Railway Company--Petition for Declaration or Prescription of 
Crossing, Trackage, or Joint Use Rights, STB Finance Docket No. 33740 
(STB served May 13, 2003). AEGC has not filed a petition to cross, but 
merely states that it ``may need to seek crossing authority.'' It would 
therefore be premature to issue a section 10901 certificate at this 
time.

Conclusion

    We find, after weighing the various transportation and 
environmental

[[Page 9636]]

concerns and considering the entire record, that the petition for 
exemption should be granted and that petitioner may build either Route 
A or Route B, subject to compliance with the environmental mitigation 
listed in the Appendix to this decision.
    As conditioned, this action will not significantly affect either 
the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy 
resources.

It is ordered

    1. Under 49 U.S.C. 10502, the Board exempts AEGC's construction and 
CWRC's operation of the above-described line from the prior approval 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. 10901.
    2. The Board adopts the environmental mitigation measures set forth 
in the Appendix to this decision, and imposes them as a condition to 
the exemption granted in this proceeding.
    3. AEGC's motion to revoke the exemption to the extent necessary to 
issue a PC&N certificate is denied.
    4. Notice will be published in the Federal Register on February 24, 
2006.
    5. Petitions to reopen must be filed by March 16, 2006.
    6. The decision is effective on March 26, 2006.

    By the Board, Chairman Buttrey and Vice Chairman Mulvey.
Vernon A. Williams,
Secretary.

Appendix

AEGC'S Voluntary Mitigation Measures

    AEGC voluntarily proposes to incorporate the following 
mitigation measures into the proposed project.

Transportation and Traffic Safety

    1. AEGC shall install, at its sole cost, the necessary signage, 
lighting, and safety warnings for all at-grade crossings as approved 
and permitted by the Illinois Commerce Commission (Routes A and B).
    2. AEGC agrees to install, at its sole cost, flashers/gates at 
County Road 9/Panama Avenue to elevate safety at this grade crossing 
as requested by the Bond County Engineer (Route B only).
    3. In order to minimize delays of vehicular traffic during 
construction of the road crossings, AEGC shall schedule the work so 
that construction of the roadway approaches would be completed 
before construction work within the roadway occurs (Routes A and B).
    4. To the extent applicable, AEGC shall require the track 
contractor to pre-build track panels for the grade crossings (Routes 
A and B).
    5. AEGC shall place detour signs and detour traffic around work 
sites as applicable. At least one month before road crossing 
construction would begin, AEGC shall notify and provide information 
to the nearest fire department and emergency response units and 
notify the County, Illinois Commerce Commission and Illinois 
Department of Transportation of the planned roadway construction 
schedule (Routes A and B).
    6. To the maximum extent feasible, AEGC shall construct the 
proposed grade crossings during the summer months when school is out 
of session. If road crossing construction cannot occur during the 
summer months, AEGC shall, at least one month before road crossing 
construction is scheduled to begin, notify and provide information 
to the applicable school districts regarding the days and times that 
road construction is planned. AEGC shall consider school bus 
schedules in planning and executing the necessary road work (Routes 
A and B).
    7. AEGC shall coordinate with NS, as necessary, regarding 
construction of the proposed Route A crossing of NS in order to 
prevent construction activities from interfering with NS operations 
over its line (Route A only).
    8. AEGC shall coordinate with NS, as necessary, to prevent rail 
operations over the proposed Route A crossing of NS from interfering 
with NS operations over its line (Route A only).
    9 AEGC shall make reasonable efforts to identify all utilities 
that are reasonably expected to be materially affected by the 
proposed construction within the right-of-way. AEGC shall work with 
each utility to determine the appropriate project-related 
modification needed, if any, and enter into an agreement regarding 
the same, if necessary. AEGC shall pay all project-related costs 
associated with these modifications or adjustments (Routes A and B).
    10. AEGC shall ensure that the contractor it selects to perform 
all maintenance and inspections shall do so in compliance with 
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) standards. AEGC shall also 
ensure that its contractor uses practices recommended by American 
Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association for project-
related construction (Routes A and B).
    11. AEGC shall limit the maximum train speed on Route A to 45 
mph and on Route B to 40 mph (Routes A and B).

Land Use

    12. AEGC shall work with farmers and ranchers to remedy actual 
damage to crops, pastures, or rangelands caused by project-related 
construction (Routes A and B).
    13. AEGC shall negotiate with affected landowners to provide 
private crossings, where appropriate, to minimize severance impacts 
(Routes A and B).
    14. AEGC shall ensure all construction debris is disposed of in 
a proper and legal manner consistent with all applicable Federal, 
state, and local disposal procedures. To the maximum extent 
feasible, AEGC shall ensure that woody debris resulting from right-
of-way clearing activities during rail line construction is left on-
site in forested areas as wildlife habitat. Regarding woody debris 
that cannot be left on-site, AEGC shall take reasonable steps to 
mulch the trees for residential or community use within the project 
area (Routes A and B).
    15. AEGC shall limit construction activities and vegetation 
clearing to the proposed right-of-way, to the extent possible 
(Routes A and B).
    16. Should any land not owned by AEGC be directly disturbed by 
project-related construction, AEGC shall restore such areas to their 
original condition, as may be reasonably necessary, upon completion 
of project-related construction (Routes A and B).
    17. AEGC's project-related construction vehicles, equipment, and 
workers shall not access work areas by crossing residential 
properties without the permission of the property owners (Routes A 
and B).
    18. AEGC shall coordinate with the Illinois Department of 
Transportation regarding any agreement needed for the crossing of 
the state-owned land near Illinois Route 127 (Route A only).

Geology/Soils

    19. AEGC shall limit ground disturbance to only the areas 
necessary for project-related construction activities (Routes A and 
B).
    20. AEGC shall commence reclamation of disturbed areas as soon 
as practicable after project-related construction ends along a 
particular stretch of rail line. The goal of reclamation shall be 
the rapid and permanent reestablishment of native ground cover on 
disturbed areas (Routes A and B).
    21. During project-related construction, AEGC shall take 
reasonable steps to ensure that contractors use fill material 
appropriate for the project area (Routes A and B).

Water Resources/Wetlands

    22. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to utilize 
Best Management Practices, to include:
    a. Practices to reduce erosion and sedimentation that could 
occur as a result of construction, including along slopes and in 
channels (Routes A and B);
    b. Disturbance of the smallest area possible around water 
resources (Routes A and B);
    c. Reseeding of areas as soon as practicable to prevent erosion 
(Routes A and B);
    d. If necessary, use of seeding fiber mats, straw mulch, plastic 
lined slope drains, and silt dikes (Routes A and B);
    e. Use of native species where practicable for revegetation 
(Routes A and B);
    f. Development of a spill prevention plan prior to construction, 
including measures to be taken in case any spills occur (Routes A 
and B);
    g. Maintaining construction and maintenance vehicles in good 
working order (Routes A and B);
    h. Daily inspections of all equipment for any fuel, lube oil, 
hydraulic, or antifreeze leaks. If leaks are found, the contractor 
shall immediately remove the equipment from service and repair or 
replace it and remediate the spill (Routes A and B);
    i. Practices to control turbidity and disturbance to bottom 
sediments during project-related construction of the proposed 
Coffeen Lake crossing (Route A only).
    23. AEGC shall implement a monitoring and management program 
covering a minimum of three years to ensure that mitigation 
activities are successful (Routes A and B).

[[Page 9637]]

    24. AEGC shall develop a bridge maintenance plan in compliance 
with FRA regulations (Routes A and B).
    25. Culvert construction in streams with significant water flow 
that could not be barricaded shall have a by-pass channel cut 
adjacent to the site to accommodate ``normal'' flow conditions 
(Routes A and B).
    26. Culvert construction in streams not having significant flow 
and that could be barricaded shall have a pump(s) set up to pass the 
water through the placement/construction site (Routes A and B).
    27. Erosion control measures at culvert construction sites shall 
remain in place until the permanent culvert construction process is 
completed (Routes A and B).
    28. AEGC shall ensure drainage and evaluate potential erosion 
concerns that may arise downstream of structures installed across 
the drainageways (Routes A and B).
    29. AEGC shall use Best Management Practices for long-term 
maintenance of culverts and bridges along the proposed rail line 
(Routes A and B).
    30. AEGC shall construct the proposed rail line in such a way as 
to maintain current drainage patterns to the extent practicable 
(Routes A and B).
    31. Where appropriate, AEGC shall work with farmers on any 
drainage issues which might arise (Routes A and B).
    32. AEGC shall prohibit project-related construction vehicles 
from driving in or crossing streams at other than established 
crossing points (Routes A and B).
    33. AEGC shall coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 
Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Environmental 
Protection Agency regarding the appropriate wetland mitigation 
(Routes A and B).
    34. AEGC shall construct all project-related drainage crossing 
structures to pass a 100-year flood and AEGC shall coordinate with 
the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to ensure the new 
floodplain crossings are appropriately designed to minimize impacts 
(Routes A and B).
    35. For wells located within the proposed right-of-way but 
outside the grading limits, AEGC shall cap or otherwise close those 
wells in accordance with state regulations (Routes A and B).
    36. AEGC shall require that appropriate vegetation control 
measures are followed and that herbicides applied during right-of-
way vegetation control procedures are approved by USEPA for such 
purposes (Routes A and B).
    37. AEGC shall require that the company conducting vegetation 
control procedures is licensed to do so (Routes A and B).
    38. In order to prevent the potential disbursement of sprayed 
substances to adjacent drainageways and wetlands, AEGC shall require 
that herbicide spraying not be undertaken on days with high winds 
and that on marginally windy days, an additive may be used to 
minimize any potential impact (Routes A and B).

Biological Resources

    39. The proposed Route A crossings of Lake Fork, Shoal Creek, 
and Bearcat Creek shall be bridged, thereby reducing potential 
impacts to the river otter habitat (Route A only).
    40. The culvert crossing at Grove Branch on Route B shall be 
sized to minimize any impacts to the river otter habitat (Route B 
only).
    41. The proposed culverts at Stream 19 and other intermittent 
streams shall be sized to minimize any natural resource impacts 
(Routes A and B).

Air Quality

    42. AEGC shall follow Federal, state, and local regulations 
regarding the control of fugitive dust emissions. This may include 
spraying water, applying a magnesium chloride treatment, placing 
tarp covers on vehicles, and installing wind barriers, if necessary 
(Routes A and B).
    43. AEGC shall work with its contractors to make sure that 
construction and maintenance equipment is properly maintained and 
that mufflers and other required pollution-control devices are in 
working condition in order to limit construction-related air 
emissions (Routes A and B).
    44. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to obtain the 
necessary burning permits to dispose of vegetation and other debris 
cleared from the proposed rail right-of-way (Routes A and B).

Noise and Vibration

    45. AEGC shall work with its construction contractor to 
minimize, to the extent practicable, construction-related noise 
disturbances near any residential areas (Routes A and B).
    46. AEGC shall require its construction contractor to maintain 
project-related construction and maintenance vehicles in good 
working order with properly functioning mufflers to control noise 
(Routes A and B).
    47. AEGC shall use continuously welded rail and rail lubricants, 
as practicable, on the newly constructed line in order to reduce 
wheel/rail wayside noise (Routes A and B).
    48. AEGC shall require, as practicable, its contractor(s) to 
comply with FRA regulations that establish decibel limits for train 
operations and locomotive noise standards (Routes A and B).

Additional Mitigation

    49. AEGC shall comply with any reasonable stream/wetland 
mitigation that may be required as part of its project-related 
permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois 
Department of Natural Resources, and Illinois Environmental 
Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act (Routes A and B).
    50. As site-specific erosion and sediment control and other Best 
Management Practices plans are developed, AEGC shall provide copies 
of these plans to NRCS (Routes A and B).
    51. As requested by USFWS, in order to avoid impacting the 
Indiana bat, AEGC shall ensure that any project-related tree 
clearing activities in Bond County not occur during the period of 
April 1 to September 30. If tree-clearing during this time period 
cannot be avoided, AEGC shall consult with USFWS prior to tree 
clearing regarding the necessity of conducting mist net surveys to 
determine if Indiana bats are present. AEGC shall report the outcome 
of these consultations with the USFWS to SEA (Route B only).
    52. AEGC shall coordinate with the Illinois Environmental 
Protection Agency to obtain any permits required from that agency 
(Routes A and B).

 [FR Doc. E6-2655 Filed 2-23-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4915-01-P