Rail News

State regulators to hear appeal of controversial Brunswick train layover facility


The chairman of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection has ruled that an appeal of a planned Amtrak train layover facility in Brunswick can proceed.

Members of the citizens group Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition filed the appeal on July 16, arguing that the Department of Environmental Protection committed numerous procedural and technical errors when it granted a stormwater management permit to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority in June. The coalition requested that the board review and rescind the final permit the rail authority needed to build the $12.7 million train holding and service facility.

TrainRiders/Northeast, a nonprofit that promotes the Amtrak Downeaster operated by the rail authority, had asked the BEP to dismiss the appeal on procedural grounds – that the coalition’s appeal was not signed by an attorney. On Tuesday, BEP Chairman James Parker denied TrainRiders/Northeast’s request.

“The Board generally seeks to minimize hurdles to access to its proceedings and encourages public participation,” Parker wrote to TrainRiders/Northeast. “It has been the Board’s longstanding practice to allow persons who are not attorneys, such as a spokesperson for a citizen group or a consultant acting as an agent for an applicant, to appear on behalf of parties in appeal proceedings before the Board.” Read the Full Article