Monday, February 26, 2007

Minnesota, South Dakota Activists Win a Round Against Coal Railroad Boondoggle

Over in Rochester, MN, activists had teamed up with counterparts in South Dakota to raise awareness about an impending Federal giveaway: a $2.3 billion sweetheart loan to a private railroad to bring coal east from Wyoming.

The railroad is the DM & E: Google will get you information about the hassle that been associated for years with this plan.

The new railroad line would have torn up farm and grazing land across several states courtesy of largest federal loan to a private company in more than 30 years. And the loan availability was approved in Congress through the now-discredited "earmarking" procedures.

But today: a big development: citing fiscal questions and other matters, federal railroad officials rejected the DM & E loan. Some details are here.

The political backstory is also interesting. Before he defeated US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, now-US Senator John Thune (R-SD) was a lobbyist for the railroad.

Now helping to successfully lobby the feds against the loan - - along with South Dakota ranchers and the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN:

Tom Daschle.

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