As part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Surface Transportation Board (STB) will serve as joint lead agencies for the project and oversee the environmental review. Both agencies will take into account the environmental impacts of the project and oversee the process while also ensuring that a wide range of stakeholders are involved.
STB will use third-party contractors to aid in evaluating the studies provided by Palmetto Railways and preparing environmental documentation necessary to comply with the requirements of NEPA and related environmental laws. The third-party contractor will prepare an environmental document on behalf of the federal agency(s).
Agency, stakeholder and public input are critical during the environmental review process to provide important insight to Palmetto Railways as it refines which alternative is best for a given locality and corridor as a whole. As lead agencies, USACE and STB will support a Public Involvement Plan which includes an in-depth range of opportunities for input through public information meetings and engagement tools. It is anticipated that the USACE and STB, will evaluate the environmental report and prepare the necessary environmental documentation to make a decision on the project and the preferred rail route. We anticipate that the federal agencies will hold a formal public hearing on the project.
The process is expected to take nine to 12 months from initiation to completion.
A number of factors will be considered when identifying the location of the line, including: