Union Pacific Files Lawsuit Over Denial Of Track Expansion

Union Pacific has filed suit in federal district court in Portland against Wasco County and the Columbia River Gorge Commission, seeking a ruling that local and National Scenic Area ordinances cannot stop the railroad’s plans for a second mainline track around Mosier.  In its filing, Union Pacific claims the Interstate Commerce Act pre-empts County and Scenic Area ordinances, and declare use of the County’s Scenic Area land use ordinances to stop the expansion unconstitutional.  Opponents of the project blasted the filing, with Friends of the Columbia Gorge conservation director Michael Lang saying the lawsuit shows a “callous disregard” by Union Pacific for the Scenic Area, tribal treaty rights, and the safety of Gorge communities.  Wasco County Commissioners denied Union Pacific’s application, saying treaty tribe objections required them to deny it under their Scenic Area ordinance.  The expansion would occur in the area of last June’s oil train derailment and fire near Mosier.

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