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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Proposed merger of Kansas City Southern

Could affect rail and trucking traffic in Polk County 

By Ethan Nahté

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, et al. (CP) and Kansas City Southern, et al. (KCS) have filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) seeking authorization for CP to acquire KCS. The Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is appropriate for this proposal.

The Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) Oct. 29 to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in connection with the proposed acquisition of control of KCS and its U.S. rail carrier subsidiaries (collectively, KCS) by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, Canadian Pacific Railway, and their U.S. rail carrier subsidiaries (collectively, CP) in Docket No. FD 36500.

Because the proposed acquisition has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts, the Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) has determined that the preparation of an EIS is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The issuance of the NOI begins the scoping period, the first step of the environmental review process.

The purpose of this Notice is to inform stakeholders—including members of the public; tribes; federal, state, and local agencies; and environmental groups—interested in or potentially affected by potential environmental impacts related to the proposed acquisition.

According to the Applicants, the purpose of the proposed acquisition is to combine America’s two smallest but fastest-growing Class I railroads to build a more efficient and more competitive rail network.

The Applicants also state that the proposed acquisition would generate environmental benefits by reducing truck transportation on highways in North America by more than 60,000 trucks annually, resulting in less congestion, less maintenance, and improved safety on those roads, as well as less noise pollution in the places where those trucks would have driven, and lowered air emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions. 

CP and KCS are two of the seven Class I railroads in the United States, which are the largest railroads defined as having annual revenue greater than $250 million. CP’s rail lines run from the east coast to west coast in Canada, as well as parts of New York to central Pennsylvania. KCS’s lines run through the midwest, from Canada and southward beyond Mexico City. The KCS line follows along the Missouri/Kansas, Oklahoma/Arkansas, and Texas/Louisiana borders, all of which will see an increase in rail traffic.

Rail traffic would increase on certain rail line segments and would decrease on others. The largest change would occur on the CP mainline between Sabula, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri, which would experience an increase in rail traffic of approximately 14.4 additional trains per day, on average. There do not propose to construct any new rail lines or abandon any rail lines.

OEA will be accepting comments on the scope of the EIS, including alternatives and issues to be analyzed in the EIS, until the close of the scoping comment period on December 17, 2021. OEA will hold six online public scoping meetings during the scoping comment period, as set forth in the NOI. The dates and times are found at the website given at the end of the article.

To view the NOI, or for more information on the environmental review process for the proposed acquisition or to submit a written comment, visit the Board-sponsored project website at CPKCSMergerEIS.com.

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