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Ranchers raise concerns on high-speed rail project

published: March 28th 2018
source: Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers

FORT WORTH, Texas — On behalf of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), president Richard Thorpe  submitted formal comments to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials raising a number of concerns and questions regarding a proposed Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail project earlier this month.

In December of last year, FRA released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed high-speed rail project. On release, FRA invited public comment on the 5,647-page draft statement.

Since the unveiling of the high-speed rail project, TSCRA has expressed significant concerns about the detrimental impact of the project on cattle raisers who live on and near the proposed route. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or DEIS as it’s called in government circles, provides an opportunity to review and comment on many of those areas of concern.

“TSCRA believes the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail will have significant environmental impact, to include detrimental effects on cattle, other livestock, agricultural operations and farmers and ranchers on the path of the proposed rail line,” Thorpe states in the comments. “A number of significant issues are not adequately addressed in the Draft EIS, and TSCRA seeks to ensure these issues, questions and concerns are thoroughly addressed prior to FRA adoption of a final EIS.”

Among the topics raised in the comments are detrimental impacts on agricultural and rural economies, potential human and livestock health implications, and excessive limitations on current and future land use.

In one particularly interesting portion of the comments, Thorpe questions the plans for small animal crossings, noting that the animal crossings amount to little more than culverts that would be too small for even a Ford F-250 to pass. The implication of which, is landowners not being to adequately reach severed portions of their property to tend their herds.

“The rights of rural Texans should not be compromised for the sake of such a project, especially one like the Dallas to Houston High-Speed Rail Line that lacks economic viability or basic usefulness,” said Thorpe. “The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association remains committed to defending ranchers and landowners in the path of this onerous project.”

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