BNSF is not the enemy but it’s also not our friend. It is a corporation and making profit is the goal. How it accomplishes that is the issue here. BNSF is abusing the goodwill and economic conservatism of North Idaho by cramming these new bridges down our throat. Rep. Russ Fulcher’s letter ignores the legitimate concerns and legal rights of the people directly impacted by these changes.
The residents (your constituents) have made it abundantly clear that the second rail bridge project has not been sufficiently studied and its impacts mitigated up to this point. The Coast Guard has yet to release a decision on the need for a full Environmental Impact Statement. Your letter seems to ignore those citizen concerns and the dramatic impact these infrastructure changes will have on our economy here in Bonner County. Do you deny that we have legitimate concerns? Have you attended a single meeting where the citizens spoke?
The bottom line is that BNSF wants to avoid a full EIS. It will cause delay (impact profit) and it will very likely require mitigation to address our legitimate concerns about safety, noise, pollution, decreased property values, and the entire ambiance of our community.
Rather than spouting press release talking points that we’ve all seen before, how about a genuine discussion with BNSF and local citizens about how to make this work for everyone? It can be done right if we use the EIS process to accomplish it. Will you support an EIS and the citizens, sir, or will you not?