Columnist Rich Campbell: ALL ABOARD ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT A SHAM

Publish Date: 
Saturday, September 27, 2014 - 2:45pm

Rich Campbell says: Peek behind the curtain and glimpse the process federal officials used in creating the draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed project.

Because the Federal Government does not have enough money to pay for Environmental Impact Studies – they allowed All Aboard Florida to:
1. Select the consultant
2. Pay for the consultant
3. Provide the content

Does this sound like an objective, independent process? The question is laughable.

When Florida All Aboard applied for a $1.6 billion federal loan, the Federal Railroad Administration was required to conduct a study on the feasibility of the project, as well as potential impacts — both beneficial and detrimental — to communities along the rail line.

Rich Campbell of the TCPalm hones in on one paragraph (Chapter 1, page 7) in the draft report — here is what he discovered.

The Federal Railroad Administration “DOES NOT HAVE APPROPRIATED FUNDS TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT ” of environmental impact statements. Hence, the agency “requires the applicant (All Aboard Florida) to engage the services of a qualified consultant approved by the Federal Railroad Administration to assist (the agency) in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement.”
To repeat:

Did you note who selected the consultant? ALL ABOARD FLORIDA

Who pays the consultant for these services? “ ... the third-party contractor is paid for by ALL ABOARD FLORIDA but reports to and takes direction from the Federal Railroad Administration.”

And what about the material contained in the draft report? The third-party contractor “reviewed all materials provided by ALL ABOARD FLORIDA ...”

This explains why a lot of the information is little more the usual All Aboard spiel. Example? Ridership projections (Chapter 3, page 45).

We cannot assume the Federal Railroad Administration is a dispassionate, objective, independent third party that will weigh all the facts and render a fair, objective decision on the feasibility of the project.

Consider the agency’s stated mission: “The Federal Railroad Administration’s mission is to enable the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future,” according to the agency’s website (fra.dot.gov).

The key word here is “ENABLE.” The Federal Railroad Administration appears to be an “enabler” without any due diligence to those they govern.

The process is a sham.

The Treasure Coast is being railroaded into a project that will provide no direct benefits beyond the short-term, economic impact from construction, while experiencing the greatest number of negative impacts along the 235-mile rail line.

I was mad before. Now I’m outraged, says Rich.

Rich Campbell’s full article: http://www.tcpalm.com/franchise/shaping-our-future/rich-campbell-heres-w...