Lawsuit filed to block new twin double-stack railroad freight tunnels under DC neighborhoods, concerns center on oil trains

Concern over proposed rail tunnel reconstruction.
Image Source: Washington Post

For background on this EJ controversy, check out these Washington Post news articles.


November 12, 2014 — The Committee of 100 on the Federal City (C100) filed a lawsuit this morning to challenge the decision last Tuesday by the Federal Highway Administration and District Department of Transportation to allow for new, twin tunnels, double-stacked trains, and years of hazardous construction in a vibrant, growing community.  The decision was announced as a “Record of Decision” (ROD) at the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consideration of the CSX plan.
“This decision is unlawful, premature and problematic,” said C100 Vice President, Monte Edwards.  “The Record of Decision fails to address the severe safety and security impacts the proposed project will have on the immediate community and on Capitol Hill, the constraint on the expansion of passenger and commuter rail service in the District, and the pre-approval by DDOT of the project before any environmental review had been conducted.”
Edwards also emphasized that there is no need to rush-to-judgment on the CSX proposal. The EIS expressly states that the current CSX tunnel has “decades” left of useful service. In addition, Maryland’s recent rejection of CSX’s proposed double-stacking terminal in Baltimore undercut CSX’s primary rational for building the two new tunnels in the District, as the Baltimore bottleneck remains.
“Issuance of the Record of Decision ends the administrative process, and litigation is the only option to obtain a new EIS that addresses our concerns. Until we have a new EIS, no permits should be granted by the District or federal officials,” Edwards concluded.
Simultaneously with the filing of the Complaint, the Committee filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit any further action until the District Court for the District of Columbia can rule on whether the Environmental Impact Statement – on which FWHA and DDOT were co-lead agencies – violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and District law.  The C100 is represented by Les Alderman of Alderman, Devorsetz & Hora PLLC. Mr. Alderman can be reached or 202-969-8220.
Press inquiries should be directed to Monte Edwards,, 202/543-3504
The opening paragraph of the complaint is copied below for your convenience:
“This lawsuit pertains to CSX Transportation Inc.’s (CSXT) efforts to enlarge a rail tunnel, currently situated in a public right of way in the District of Columbia, underneath Virginia Avenue in Southeast Washington, D.C. (“Virginia Avenue Tunnel,” or “VAT”). Plaintiff, The Committee of 100 on the Federal City (“The Committee”), files this civil action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the Defendants from issuing any federal or District of Columbia approvals and/or permits, including but not limited to construction, use and occupancy, and storm water permits, because the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and the Record of Decision (ROD) endorsing the preferred “build alternative” therein violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”).”