9th Circuit sides with Port Mac Rail

A second attempt to stop construction on the Port Mackenzie Rail Extension has been denied. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order on Tuesday denying an emergency appeal by Cook Inlet Keeper, Sierra Club, and Alaska Survival to halt work on the project.

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Two weeks ago, Cook Inlet Keeper lost in federal court in Anchorage on its request for an injunction on construction, when U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline ruled in just four days against halting construction on the 32-mile rail link.

Cook Inlet Keeper and co-petitioners took it to the 9th Circuit Court as an emergency request and lost yesterday. The environmental groups can file a similar request on a regular timeline to halt construction in the 9th Circuit despite the emergency motion being denied yesterday.

Bob Shavelson from Cook Inletkeeper says the Port Mac Rail project will never pay for itself, and at an impact to 96 acres of wetland will disrupt the ecosystem that fish and birds depend on.

Play Clip: 1PortMac
Runs: 40 seconds

Mat Su Borough Public Information officer Patty Sullivan says the environmental impact assessment for the project is over 600 pages, and in previous rulings by the 9th circuit decision said “the environmental impact statement contained detailed, thorough, and thoughtful discussion of wetlands impacts and mitigation measures.”

Play Clip: 2PortMac
Runs: 35 seconds

District court has yet to rule on the merits of the plaintiffs case that the US Army Corp of Engineers Wetlands Permit was valid.

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