Town appeals federal court ruling in railroad case

By MIKE DONOGHUE and LISA SCAGLIOTTI

The Town of Shelburne has formally filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City, taking the two-year-old battle with Vermont Railway Inc. to the next level of legal review.

The town is appealing a decision issued Dec. 7 in U.S. District Court in Burlington concerning a new local ordinance regulating hazardous materials storage, handling and distribution.

Senior Federal Judge William K. Sessions III ruled the ordinance does not apply to the railroad’s facility in Shelburne used to store and distribute road salt that arrives by railcar and is trucked to municipal and state highway garages in Northern Vermont.

The town agreed to file the appeal after receiving a pledge of $20,000 from the Vermont Natural Resources Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization based in Montpelier.

The check was received by Shelburne recently and Town Attorney Claudine Safar filed the appeal Friday afternoon. The selectboard, which voted 3-1 to appeal, has told residents the town will not spend any tax dollars on the appeal.

With strong opinions on both sides, the court case has already cost Shelburne taxpayers more than $400,000. Town attorneys have agreed to cap their pay for handling the appeal at $20,000.

VNRC said it is interested in the case as it pertains to environmental impacts of the salt facility, located off U.S. 7, north of the village and close by the LaPlatte River. The group is also involved in petitioning the state to tighten environmental controls governing the LaPlatte wetland area.

It is not clear how the appeal will affect possible out-of-court discussions between town and railroad officials.

On Jan. 11, the selectboard announced that it had asked the railroad to meet for discussions that could potentially lead to a mediated solution to the case.

Railroad officials said they have always been willing to talk with the town but they may not want to employ mediation.

The selectboard meets tonight. One item on its agenda is to discuss in closed-door session legal strategy in the case with the railroad “as it Relates to the Possibility of a Non-Court Ordered Mediation Session.”

That meeting begins at 7 p.m. in meeting room 1 at the town offices.

 

 

 

3 Responses to "Town appeals federal court ruling in railroad case"

  1. Sean Moran   January 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    formally again stepped into an arena of ignorance

    Reply
  2. Sharon Palady   January 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    What the Board says and what they actually end up doing are two entirely different issues!

    Maybe, and I could be oh so wrong, after Town Meeting, the makeup of the Board will warrant a change, enough so, the appeal will be dropped.

    The amount of money this will take, guaranteed, will cost way more than the $20,000 donation by the outside VNRC!

    A minute few with big heads shall go down! When the time comes what will they claim?

    Reply
  3. Sean Moran   January 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    CHANGE THIS BOARD IN MARCH! lets get out and vote for one that acvtually works for the town.

    Reply

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