The "D" in DM & E is Not for Daschle
All of us in the supply side of the railroad industry, as well as many others, know that the DM & E is a common reference to the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad. This is the line that has tried to get a track into Wyoming's Powder River Basin for something like ten years, now. If they get permission for the proposed line, half will be a significant rebuild of existing trackage, and half will be totally new construction, which will add even more pressure to the RR suppliers, as previously noted here. The DM&E's material and machinery requirements are that significant.
The BNSF and UPRR obviously would rather the DM&E be held out of the Powder River, which would allow them to maintain a hammerlock on all coal shipments. These two Class One Railroads have made no bones about that fact, but the problems that came up last summer with degrading track conditions did their case no good at all, as it allowed the DM&E to make a point that Wyoming's Powder River Basin Coal needs another railroad shipping option. All this is no secret, and is typical of past and present railroad competion.
What is also well know is that one of the last remaining pieces of formal opposition is provided by a group headed by the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota. The DM&E runs in close proximity to the Clinic, and their worry concerns how an increase in coal train traffic will impact their facility. The Mayo Clinic Group has gone so far to enlist and include several other ranchers down the line, hopefully to add to their legitimacy.
Much of this is all reported in a good article in the November issue of Trains Magazine.
What is not reported by Trains Magazine, or anyone else in the MSM that I can find, is how former South Dakota Senator, Mr. Tom Daschle, may be involved with the Mayo Group. Why might that be the case? Perhaps it has to do with hard feelings that Mr. Daschle still harbors, having lost his seat to Mr. John Thune in November 2004. Since his election, you will recall that Mr. Thune spearheaded an amendment that assisted the DM&E in its effort to gain permission to build their line.
Would Mr. Daschle be so much of a sore loser to do such a thing, to help deny the DM&E permission for their line? Rumors say, yes, indeed. Someone needs to confirm or deny these rumors, and then report. Hard to believe that Mr. Daschle would put his own self esteem ahead of his former constituents, but if true, those former constituents and current fellow South Dakotans should know the truth.