Legislators ponder rail line impact on estuary

PORTSMOUTH — Three of the state’s four congressional representatives have sent a letter to federal officials asking them to study the impact of Sea-3’s increase in rail cars carrying propane through the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
 
In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to consider conducting a comprehensive environmental assessment of the potential impact of increased rail traffic on lines running through GBNERR.
 
“The GBNERR is part of the Great Bay estuary, New Hampshire’s largest estuarine system, which offers a variety of diverse habitats, including eelgrass beds, mudflats and salt marsh,” they wrote. “The Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper has highlighted numerous environmental effects that expanded use of these rail lines would have on research facility work, oyster restoration efforts, aquaculture operations, lobstermen, crabbers and recreational shell fishermen.”
 
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