Idaho environmental group appeals BNSF bridge permit

A BNSF Railway plan calls for building a second bridge across Lake Pend Orielle at Sandpoint, Idaho, to reduce congestion. An environmental group has appealed a state permit for the bridge.

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — An environmental group is appealing an Idaho Department of Lands encroachment permit granted for a BNSF Railway bridge.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports court records show Wild Idaho Rising Tide filed the action Friday in 1st District Court.

Group member Helen Yost argues that the second bridge across Lake Pend Oreille jeopardizes water resources, air quality, wildlife habitat, indigenous rights, navigation, tourism and recreation.

The group also argues that the bridge will increase noise and pollution, in addition to the potential for accidents and derailments involving fossil fuels and hazardous materials.

The railroad proposed the bridge to resolve a bottleneck in east-west traffic between the Midwest and West Coast ports.

Idaho Department of Lands Public Information Officer Sharla Arledge said in a statement that the department is reviewing a copy of the petition, and will determine the next steps to take.

The legal action calls for a judicial review of the permit’s issuance.

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