We have finally received word from the Coast Guard concerning the BNSF rail expansion project. We are sad to report that their decision was not in the direction we had been hoping for, which was to perform an Environmental Impact Statement. Unfortunately, they have decided to issue the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). With the FONSI, The Coast Guard proposes to issue permits authorizing the construction of new railroad bridges across Sand Creek and Lake Pend Oreille that will be constructed immediately adjacent to existing railroad bridges crossing the same water bodies.

There is no comment period associated with this notice.

We are in the process of reviewing the Final EA to determine if they actually have taken into consideration the deficiencies in the draft EA we addressed in our comments. Once we have reviewed their final EA we will likely challenge their decision. We have consulted with some local environmental attorneys as to how we should proceed. They have recommended we follow the proper administrative process outlined by the U.S. Coast Guard. The first step is to ask them to reconsider with an official request letter that provides supporting evidence as to why we believe their decision is incorrect. If our request is denied, we have a legal right to request an appeal. While a formal appeal is pending, the original decision will remain in effect.

This issue is a top priority for us and we will keep you informed throughout the process. We welcome any legal or financial help directed toward our endeavors.

We have not given up!

This project could affect the health of our lake and we will not give up without a fight!

Lake Pend Oreille WATERKEEPER

100A Cedar St.

Sandpoint ID 83864