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Surface Transportation Board's Decision in the case brought by Protect Sudbury, Inc. against the MBTA's lease to Eversource

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Scroll down a bit to see the callouts

The last sentence is the key one in this  paragraph. ". . . MBTA would simply obtain abandonment authority. . . .and PSI therefore would still fail to prevent installation of the power line.

PSI, however, has no interest in or relationship to rail transportation. PSI does not seek to provide rail service, nor is it a shipper seeking rail service, nor is it a landowner seeking a determination concerning its possible rights in the rail corridor. Rather, PSI acknowledges that its goal is to prevent the installation of power lines in the rail corridor and in the Town of Sudbury generally, even though such installation has been permitted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities with that permitting decision upheld by the highest court in Massachusetts.

Here, however, PSI has no interest in the integrity of the rail
system or the provision of rail service, which is what § 10501(b) is designed to protect. Because PSI has no interest in rail service, or even a claimed property interest in the rail line, it is unnecessary for the Board to determine the extent to which preemption might apply. 


 Under the circumstances present in this case, a party should not be allowed to use a statute designed to define the limits of rail regulation and preserve the integrity of the interstate rail system where it has no interest in those purposes, particularly in an effort to prevent a public use of property that has been approved by the relevant state agencies.


Such a legal maneuver risks abuse of the Board’s statute and processes. The Board also need not address the issue of whether the Line was abandoned

PSI further argues that the ICC and the Board have been inconsistent in determining whether discontinuance or abandonment authority is appropriate for carriers in situations similar to B&M’s in 1979, and that a declaratory order is needed to clarify this issue for the rail industry. 

But PSI does not represent the rail industry, nor does it have any interest in determining what type of authority was or may be necessary for carriers in situations similar to B&M in 1979.

Ultimately, any such uncertainty need not be addressed here and can be addressed if a future case arises involving a carrier in a situation similar to B&M’s seeking to end service.


PSI also argues that Board guidance on the status of the Line is needed so that landowners with property abutting the Line can determine what legal avenues are available to protect their property interests.


However, PSI has not identified itself as a landowner with a
potential property interest in the rail corridor, nor does it assert that it represents any such landowners.

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