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U.S. Secretary Of Agriculture Sec. Vilsack Supports DM&E Petition

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks about the drought during a press briefing at the White House in Washington July 18, 2012. REUT
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks about the drought during a press briefing at the White House in Washington July 18, 2012. REUT

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) urging the board to support South Dakota’s petition regarding Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and the former Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) Railroad. 

The Governor met with Secretary Thomas Vilsack on Thursday, Sept. 12, in Washington, D.C. to discuss the potential loss of the only east-to-west rail in South Dakota and the impact it would have on agriculture in the state. 

“The loss of this line, or major portions of it, could eliminate rail service to a major portion of the state. Even where service would remain, agricultural shippers would only have access to a single railroad, which could increase rail rates for agricultural shippers and receivers,” Secretary Vilsack wrote in the letter. “A full accounting of the promised investment, as requested by South Dakota, is a reasonable step forward.” 

Along with the state of South Dakota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture supported CP’s acquisition in 2008 based upon the company’s initial promises.

After CP failed to answer Gov. Daugaard’s questions about the company’s promises and investments, the Governor turned to the federal Surface Transportation Board. In August the Governor filed a petition as an official inquiry with the STB to determine if the CP lived up to the representations it made while seeking to acquire the DM&E.

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