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BNSF to continue reimbursements to some Superior residents

The BNSF railyard/Allouez Taconite Facility in Superior The BNSF railyard/Allouez Taconite Facility in Superior |  Photo: WDIO-TV file

Updated: October 28, 2020 04:54 AM

SUPERIOR - Superior City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle says BNSF Railway will continue to reimburse some residents for cleanup of taconite dust. 

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The company said arrangements are not yet finalized, but Van Sickle called it a "positive and reasonable" solution. 

People who live within half a mile of the taconite facility and conveyor belt will be able to get money back for costs incurred with cleaning dust off their homes and properties. Van Sickle said it does not cover every property currently impacted by the dust, but it will help the majority. 

"We are still working through the finer details," Van Sickle said in an email. "This reinstatement of sorts is significant progress and together, as a community, this is a tremendous effort to be proud of."

Last week, the Superior City Council had voted unanimously to ask BNSF to continue the payments. 

Van Sickle thanked Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), state Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) and state Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range) for their help. 

Milroy said he was relieved the payments would continue. 

For years, the Allouez community has been a shared space where the BNSF and residents successfully coexisted with a relationship based on mutual trust. Although taconite dust from the BNSF's conveyor belt and Allouez Taconite Facility covers the homes, yards, and vehicles of area residents, this inconvenience has annually been alleviated by the BNSF's reimbursement of claims to cover the cost of cleanup. It is great news that going forward, both longtime residents and future homeowners in the neighborhood can rest assured knowing they will not have to foot the costs of cleaning alone.

A BNSF spokesperson said they appreciate the partnership with city leadership. 

"BNSF has always wanted to work closely with our neighbors near our Allouez facility," Courtney Wallace said. "Our intent is to ensure that property owners in the impacted area are compensated accordingly." 

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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