OMYA seeks $110+ in Federal funding for Middlebury rail spur and Rutland railyard relocation
(Click on links for more info about these corporate welfare rail projects).

January 27, 2005, Middlebury spur draws heavy criticism in Salisbury, Addison Independent
"I am shocked and I guess I'm really angry that the AOT is, at the expense of taxpayers and a huge disruption and inconvenience for affected landowners, involved in an action that would both expand and entrench OMYA's operation in Vermont," said Salisbury resident Brennan Michaels. "OMYA has not been in compliance with Vermont laws. I certainly don't support a state agency assisting, with my tax dollars, a multi-national corporation in its desire to expand its operations, for its own benefit, when that corporation is not held to the same standards are the citizens of this state. It makes me very angry."

January 26, 2005, Omya Rail Spur Plan Draws Fire, Rutland Herald
"But the argument failed to impress critics like Sharon Duckman of Salisbury, who pointed to Omya's name in the purpose and needs statement. Duckman said the project would never have been proposed in the first place except for the company's desire to expand."

November 23, 2004, Transportation Absurdities, Rutland Herald letter to the editor
Spend $1 million to staff the train station for the next 20 years, and use the remaining $99 million to improve every road in Rutland County."

August 23, 2004, Omya rail spur in Middlebury moves forward, Rutland Herald
"The impetus for the rail spur was Omya's frustration in attempting to increase the number of trucks hauling marble ore from Middlebury to its Florence plant. When the company was denied an Act 250 land use permit to increase its truck traffic, that set off what proved to be a losing a legal battle at the state and federal court levels that lasted several years."

June 18, 2004, Officials Discuss Railyard, Rutland Herald
"The railroad's limitations are restricting businesses, such as Omya Inc. in Florence, from being able to expand or even ship goods at their current capacity."

March 22, 2004, Vt. Rail Problem at Top of Menu, Rutland Herald
"The project would include a number of large-scale upgrades, including the relocation of the Rutland railyard and a spur in Middlebury to reach an OMYA quarry."

July 25, 2003, Battling Trucks, Trains Gain Steam, Wall Street Journal
"In Brandon, Vt., some residents are supporting a $24 million plan to build a railroad track to a nearby marble quarry in hopes that the steady stream of trucks rumbling through the picturesque village can be shifted to rail."

May 5, 2003, Rutland is key rail link for state's freight traffic, Rutland Herald,
"Without these tracks, an OMYA official said his company, which moves 75 percent of its output by rail, would not be doing business here, according to the company’s director of logistics."

May 7, 2003, New Rutland railyard is key project, Rutland Herald
"At the federal level, Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., asked for and received $1.5 million in federal funds for environmental assessments and preliminary engineering two years ago."..."Moving the rail would allow freight transport — principally OMYA tankers at the moment — to expand."

February 24, 2003, OMYA rail spur plan rests on federal funding, Addison Independent
"Middlebury quarry operator OMYA and Vermont Railway are pursing major federal funding that could make a rail spur to the Foote Street limestone quarry a reality."

February 5, 2003, Vt. Railway, OMYA may pay $22 million for rail projects, Rutland Herald
"The state has invested almost $1 million for planning on the railyard project alone and the Agency of Transportation has included $100,000 in the coming year’s budget."

September 4, 2001, Letter from Senator Patrick Leahy
"The extent of my involvement in the project has been a meeting with a delegation of Rutland officials, including representatives from OMYA, about rail improvements to relieve congestion on Vermont roads in the western part of the state. Their plans include removing OMYA trucks from small Vermont town roads by putting their product in railroad cars. In addition, OMYA would like to construct a rail spur to Middlebury and upgrade the rail line in Danby. The appropriation for the Rutland rail yard this year does not fund either of these other projects."

June 4, 2001, OMYA continues to explore rail transportation plan for Middlebury quarry, Addison Independent
"Any rail spur scenario would have to contend with environmental and property acquisition hurdles, plus an estimated cost of over $10 million."

February 28, 2001, New railyard may be six years away - Rutland Herald
"Timing was also an issue. After the environmental study is completed, the process of gaining federal and state permits, including an Act 250 permit, will come next. In a worst case scenario, Sternberg said, it could take three years to approve the project. Then it will take about a year to design and possibly another two construction seasons to build, Wilcox said. Kenneth Enzor, director of logistics and distribution for OMYA, said, "That's too late." Enzor said that if OMYA, a marble processing company based in Florence, continued to grow as projected, it would have more business than the railyard could handle in three years."

January 18, 2001, Foundation tries to push OMYA toward rail - Rutland Herald
"In short, OMYA and VTR (Vermont Railway) cannot afford to spend the huge sums that are at stake only to be blocked at different turns along the way with the contention that the project does not pass muster under one program or another," Schwiebert wrote. He went on to state, "OMYA simply cannot afford to go through this process only to find that 'an arrowhead in the ground' has derailed it."

March 18, 2000, Howe Center businesses irked by train barricades, Rutland Herald
In the meantime, he said he has tried to make the best of a bad situation by working with the railroad and OMYA, which hauls much of its freight through Rutland

November 18, 1999,
OMYA rail spur on new track, Addison Independent
"We've decided as a railroad, we are going to keep pushing this option," Vermont Railway President David Wulfson said on Monday. "We need to be the ones in the lead, because it is a railroad project."

Is Danby next?
Senator Jim Jeffords Visits the Mine Site -- Sept. 5, 2000 -- Toured Sen. Jim Jeffords to the site in Danby. Two staff members accompanied him. We discussed the possibility of obtaining funds from the Highway Trust Fund. Lindsey Suddarth had worked with Congresswoman Nancy Johnson to ferret out where funds were sequestered in the Federal Budget that could be used for a study or possibly a grant to fund alternate transportation methods for the ore. These include Rte. 7 construction, Rte. 140 assistance, railroad ideas and other alternates.

Rail projects can receive a federal exemption from local and state permitting:
“Given the real possibility that the Surface Transportation Board could rule that all the town’s ordinances and permit processes are preempted by federal law, and thus unenforceable, this should be and no doubt is a matter of grave concern to...potentially all other towns and cities in the state of Vermont,” wrote Jeanne Elias, assistant attorney general. Rutland Herald, July 1, 2003.

VTR must undergo Act 250 approval Federal board denies declaratory order, Rutland Herald, January 24, 2005
"Vermont Railway Inc. must seek the necessary state and local permits in order to construct a salt shed and rail spur in South Wallingford, a federal transportation panel has ruled."

The Surface Transportation Board's Mission

Vermont Supreme Court ruling on Vermont Railway's appeal of exemption decision of Environmental Court, June 2000

Dingell Questions Surface Transportation Board Regarding Trenton Railroad, March 16, 2001

Railroad disputes state’s authority, Rutland Herald, June 17, 2001

City to appeal passing rail decision, August 29, 2002

Nober named STB chairman, Mining Week, Dec. 6, 2002

Hurry-up rail proposal has town, state concerned, Rutland Herald, July 1, 2003

Wilmington presses fight vs. Transrail, Lowell Sun, July 3, 2003

Rail plan detour for Olin hailed, Lowell Sun, July 16, 2003