Tongue River Railroad faces setback

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BILLINGS, Mont. - The proposed 121-mile Tongue River Railroad failed to get clearance to build through a Montana fish hatchery, which means the project's cost could double, the Associated Press has reported. Montana's department of fish and wildlife turned down the planned coal-hauler's request for an easement, at least for now.

Commissioners at the agency said they were uncomfortable with a tentative deal with Tongue River Railroad developer Mike Gustafson to grant the 25-acre easement. However, they did agree to revisit the issue after another round of negotiations.

Gustafson said he intends to work with the department to try and resolve the issues. "This is going to establish a style as far as how Tongue River Railroad deals with property owners," he said. "We're frustrated, but the better way to do this is to take these issues that have been raised" and continue negotiation.

No date has been set for a resumption of talks.
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