Court to strike BNSF bridge appeal

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Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to remove a reference to potential legal representation based on incorrect information provided to the Daily Bee. Wendy Earle, Law Office LLC has not been retained to represent WIRT at this time.

WIRT plans to file amended appeal

By KEITH KINNAIRD

News editor

SANDPOINT — A 1st District Court judge is poised to strike an appeal of an encroachment permit for a second BSNF Railway Co. bridge across Lake Pend Oreille.

Judge Barbara Buchanan entered an order finding that Wild Idaho Rising Tide appeal is technically flawed in several respects, court records show.

The North Idaho environmental group filed an appeal of the Idaho Department of Lands permit last month. The group argues that the second span jeopardizes water resources, air quality, wildlife habitat, Native American rights, navigation and tourism. It further argued that another bridge will increase noise and pollution, heighten derailment risks and accelerate climate change via fossil fuel consumption.

Although the second bridge has its detractors, it also has its supporters, who contend it will aid commerce and reduce blockages at at-grade railroad crossings.

WIRT’s appeal encountered choppy waters once it landed in district court.

“There are several problems with this notice of appeal,” Buchanan said in an order proposing to strike the appeal.

Buchanan said the appeal does not contain all of the information required under Idaho’s Rules of Civil Procedure, including a date, heading case caption, a statement regarding public hearings on the permit and whether a transcript of those proceedings is being requested. The appeal also didn’t include certification that the petition had been served on IDL.

In addition to those technical deficiencies, Buchanan further ruled that Idaho law requires such actions to be filed by an attorney.

Helen Yost filed the appeal on behalf of WIRT.

“Helen Yost is not a licensed attorney, and therefore, although she may represent herself, she cannot file pleadings on behalf of, or otherwise represent Wild Idaho Rising Tide in this matter,” Buchanan wrote in a July 25 order.

Buchanan said the appeal will be dismissed in 14 days unless an amended notice of appeal is filed by an attorney representing WIRT.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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