San Bernardino mayor pushes for BNSF yard emission reductions
San Bernardino's mayor and a local activist group are calling for an immediate overhaul of emission-producing equipment at a BNSF Railway rail yard in the city.
'We want the best technology, the state-of-the-art equipment that is placed in the Long Beach and Los Angeles facilities,' Mayor Pat Morris told members of the community during a public meeting May 8.
BNSF is proposing to build an 'environmentally friendly' intermodal rail facility just north of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports. However, the rail carrier has yet to actually build the project referred to by Morris. The two ports have worked with inter-port rail carrier Pacific Harbor Lines to move toward cleaner locomotives. PHL describes the ongoing replacement of its 23 engine fleet as voluntary.
Morris and members of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice joined together at the meeting to call for immediate action by BNSF to curtail diesel emissions from the 168-acre rail yard in Westside San Bernardino.
'We demand the new technology here now because it is a crisis,' CCAEJ policy director Jan Misquez said at the meeting.
A report issued last month by the California Air Resources Board estimated that the San Bernardino rail yard generates high levels of diesel pollution affecting residents up to a mile away from the facility.
Officials from BNSF said the railroad has been taking steps to reduce emissions, such as using cleaner fuel and installing idle-limiting devices on locomotives, but implementing large scale changes, such as replacing diesel-powered cranes at the yard with electric ones are harder to implement.
The railroad is expected to present a draft plan to reduce emissions from the San Bernardino yard within the next several months.