11.2.13

NOT IN MY BACK FORTY.

There is still a Western frontier, and still it is closing.  Years ago, the coming of the railroad disrupted centuries-old hunting and migrating patterns of the aboriginal inhabitants of the plains.  Today, it's the centuries-old farming patterns of the Amish being disrupted.
Now that simple lifestyle is being threatened by a proposed railroad owned by a coal giant and two of the world's wealthiest men. The proposed line would bisect the Amish community's land and disrupt farm and ranching operations, [farmer Levi or David] Borntregers said.

The proposed Tongue River Railroad would open Montana's vast Otter Creek Coal Tracts — located some 15 miles to the south of the Borntregers' farm — to strip mining. According to the project's supporters, the railroad would haul an estimated 20 million tons of coal annually from Arch Coal's planned mine near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation to Midwest power plants.

The Tongue River Railroad is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett's BNSF Railway, Arch Coal and billionaire candy bar magnate Forrest Mars Jr. Mars, a landowner along one of the previous Tongue River routes, bought a third of the railroad in 2011 after fighting it for years. The proposed route that once crossed his land is now off the table.
The resistance of the landed gentry to the iron horse is also nothing new. There's at least one cosmetic tunnel in Britain's horse country so that some squire not be disturbed by smoke and steam.  I'd expect better of a Mars.  The candy once went to market in billboard refrigerator cars.

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