DNR approves permit for second rail line through La Crosse marsh

This is one of the last approvals needed before the expansionThis is one of the last approvals needed before the expansion

The Wisconsin DNR is granting BNSF Railway the necessary permit to put a second track through the La Crosse River marsh.

This is one of the last approvals needed before the expansion.

BNSF says the additional rail line through La Crosse will not only improve efficiency, but also safety.

Opponents argue it will increase the chances of an oil spill, threatening the natural beauty and wildlife in the marsh.

La Crosse’s Mayor says despite not have having an environmental study done on the impacts of the additional rail line, there are still some positives¬† to take out of the process.

“The EIS. unfortunately that’s not going to go through, but I think it shines a light on the fact that we need to be looking at enhancements and projects to really make sure that the marsh is as healthy and vital as it can be,” said Mayor Tim Kabat.

Both Congressman Ron Kind and Senator Tammy Baldwin had sent letters calling for an environmental impact statement before the DNR issued the permit.

Kind released a statement that said, in part, “it’s irresponsible to rush forward like this when so much is at stake. The amount of oil being shipped through Wisconsin is skyrocketing along with the risk of derailments and spills that could endanger our natural resources and local neighborhoods. It is clear that the need for proper environmental review of this planned track expansion is critical to protecting our wetlands and communities.”

The Army Corps of Engineers still has to grant BNSF a permit for the expansion.

Kind and other lawmakers have also asked that agency to complete an environmental impact statement.