Canadian National in Court Again
Canadian National Railway can’t seem to stay out of court. This time, a U.S. Federal Appeals Court ruled unanimously that CN must honour conditions imposed by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board on CN’s purchase of the Elgin Joliet & Eastern (EJ&E) Rail Line that runs between Illinois and Indiana. The decision means CN must pay $68 million to cover the lion’s share of costs in building two underpasses in the Chicago area to mitigate rail crossing traffic jams. See articles in the Chicago Business and U.S. Politics Today.
CN had unsuccessfully argued that the Surface Transportation Board did not have legal grounds to raise environmental concerns in a deal between a large and a small railroad. The court knocked out this argument.
CN has been battling with 33 communities along the EJ&E main line that are concerned about CN’s aggressive approach to the EJ&E takeover. Communities have been concerned about increased rail traffic, increased noise and diesel exhaust pollution, adjacent property devaluation, and increased traffic jams at many rail crossings which have very significant impacts on emergency vehicle response times.
TRAC (The Regional Answer to Canadian National), a coalition of suburban Chicago-area leaders, joined forces to ensure the quality of life of more than 1 million residents is not adversely impacted by CN’s takeover of EJ&E. To date, this organization has been successful in its mission. Railroaded applauds the efforts of TRAC.
This most recent court decision falls on the heels of a March 11, 2011 fine imposed on CN by the British Columbia Provincial Court for spilling diesel fuel into a fish-bearing river. CN was found guilty of violating the Canada Fisheries Act. As well, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board fined CN $250,000 in December 2010 for intentionally under-reporting train blockages at railroad crossings along the EJ&E line.
Canadian National Railway has a long track record of violating legislation, guidelines, conditions and policies. Going to court is very much an integral part of CN’s daily business. Check out other examples at our website.