Issues Identification Report for the
Carlin Rail Route Option

Executive Summary

This report outlines an initial determination of issues related to the development of a new rail line (the "Carlin route option") through Eureka County to transport high-level nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain repository. Because of the uncertainties surrounding the development of the repository, and the fact that transportation planning is in an early stage, Eureka County has the opportunity to engage the U.S. Department of Energy in the design and development of the Carlin route option.

The following figures illustrate the issues described in detail in the report. Figure I shows the initial design criteria considered by DOE in preliminary corridor selection.

Figure I -- Summary of Corridor Identification/Selection Issues Considered by DOE

Issue Criteria
Existing & Abandoned Railroads Working railroads and historical routes indicate some, not all, potentially feasible corridors.
Terrain Corridor would offer potential alignments which have a maximum grade of 2.5% and a maximum curvature of 8 degrees.
Land Ownership/Land Use Corridor would offer potential alignments which maximize use of federal land with low potential for land use conflict, minimize use of private land, and avoid the Nevada Test Site and Nellis Air Force Range.
Regional Railroad Access Corridor would offer potential alignment intersecting one or more mainline railroad.

Figure II shows the issues considered by DOE in selecting specific alignments within a corridor. Figure III shows the issues that must be considered under the National Environmental Policy Act in preparing an environmental impact statement for rail development on federal land.

Figure II -- Summary of Alignment Identification/Selection Issues Considered By DOE

Issue Criteria
Terrain Identified alignments must have maximum 2.5% grade and maximum 8 degree curvature.
Impacts Potential alignments maximize use of compatible lands and minimize mitigation of land use and environmental impacts.
Costs Potential alignments minimize costly construction and operating solutions.

Figure III -- Summary of Critical EIS Impact Topics Identified By Law

Issue Criteria
Air Quality Clean Air Act
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) Federal Land Policy and Management Act
Cultural Resources National Historic Preservation Act
Prime/unique Farm Lands Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Floodplains Executive Order 11988
Native American Religious Concerns American Indian Religious Freedom Act
Threatened/Endangered Species Endangered Species Act
Hazardous/Solid Wastes Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
Drinking/Groundwater Quality Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act
Wetlands/Riparian Zones Executive Order 11990
Wild/Scenic Rivers Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
Wilderness Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Wilderness Act

Figure IV shows some of the issues that would be of particular concern to citizens of Eureka County if the Carlin route is developed as indicated in the Preliminary Rail Access Study.

Figure IV -- Summary Of Issues Of Potential Concern In Eureka County

Issue Criteria
Surface/Ground Water Development may disturb environmentally or economically sensitive water resource
Floodplain Development in floodplain is discouraged by county policy
Wetlands Development may disturb environmentally or aesthetically sensitive resource
Game Habitat Development may disturb economically or socioculturally sensitive resource
Protected Species Development may disturb environmentally or aesthetically sensitive resource
Socioeconomics Population, employment, income, facilities and services effects during construction and operation
Crop Production Disruption of operations, transportation access
Grazing Disruption of operations, transportation access
Mining Disruption of operations, discourage development, transportation access
Economic Development Potential Standard or stigma effects may advance or retard economic development goals
Emergency Preparedness Relative cost to meet standards of actual or perceived preparedness
Fiscal Net short- long-term fiscal impact
Sociocultural/Lifestyle Disruption of rural/agricultural community

The report concludes with a recommendation that Eureka County establish and maintain a procedure to interact with the citizens of the county and with DOE in promoting the county's interests in the design and development of the Carlin route option.


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Last Updated 08/2003