Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Authority prevented a North Coast freight operator from delivering a dozen more rail cars filled with an estimated 396,000 gallons of flammable gas to a storage site south of Sonoma, escalating tensions between the rail agencies.
The squabble is increasing uncertainty for freight customers along the Highway 101 corridor, where Northwestern Pacific Railroad delivers the bulk of malt barley to Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Co., along with grain feed and lumber to several other local companies.
The dispute centers on Northwestern Pacific’s storage of millions of gallons of liquefied petroleum gas in a dairy pasture in Schellville.
On Sunday, SMART denied Northwestern Pacific’s request to transport 18 rail cars, including 12 filled with gas and 6 loaded with grains, from American Canyon to Schellville, where the freight operator already is storing 80 rail cars filled with 2.6 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gas.
In response, Northwestern Pacific was planning to file a petition Tuesday with the federal Surface Transportation Board seeking an emergency order allowing transport and storage of the hazardous material.“SMART basically is not the freight police,” said Mitch Stogner, executive director of the North Coast Railroad Authority, the public agency that oversees freight service on the line.
SMART officials contend the gas tankers represent a major public safety threat, and that the rail agency has the authority to restrict shipments and storage of such materials along its right-of-way.
Read more at: SMART prevents more deliveries of gas-filled cars to Schellville | The Press Democrat