After the public comment portion of this session there was enough time left to get back to the regular hearing format with the Pioneer Valley Railroad starting its testimony as an intervener in favor of the the proposed transfer station.
Before they began the hearing officer read a letter from the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce that spoke favorably of the project. Calling it, "A catalyst for further development in Holyoke".
Mike Rennicke spoke for the PVRR. Beside being a potential transport partner of the transfer station the RR is also a property abutter.
Rennicke explained that the RR has been in continual operation over the same line for the last 138 years, and like all RR's in the United States, the PVRR is strictly regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
Viewing slides of a busy rail corridor in Boston, United Waste's lawyer pointed out the negligible impact of rail activities by asking Rennicke about the new buildings built around the corridor seen in the slides.
The Board of Health asked if there were any plans to use rail cars to reduce the number of trucks that will be leaving the facility. Rennicke stated he would like Mr Lemay to consider that, but there are no actual agreements in place. When asked about diesel emissions from trains Rennicke stated that trains are 4-5 times less polluting.
Speaking a behalf of Hope, Carlos Vega asked who owned the rail cars that would transport waste from the facility. Rennicke stated that a variety of leasing companies owned cars, and leased them out where needed.
Liz Budd, also speaking for Hope, asked about the age, and tier classification of the PVRR's Train Engines. Mike Rennicke gave away his age by stating the engines are the same age as he is, 60 years old, and tier classification is Zero. He emphasized that as soon as they get behind one rail car they are much cleaner than the number of trucks that haul the same load.
Ms Budd also asked about safety along the tracks, and asked if he was aware that people walked along the tracks. Rennicke stated people walking the tracks are in violation of State, and Federal law for trespass, and strongly emphasized how dangerous walking along the rail is, and listed the many enforcement agencies they work with to police and prosecute those they find on RR property.
The hearing officer would not allow Ms Budd's questions about the potential revenue the RR would gain from servicing the proposed transfer station. This appeared to cut her questions short ending this session.
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