The Berkshire Hathaway-owned Class I railroad has agreed to clean up coal and petroleum coke spilled from open-top rail cars, as well as pay $1 million to fund environmental projects in Washington state, according to the Seattle Times.
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Class I freight railroad BNSF has agreed to clean up coal and petroleum coke spilled from open-top rail cars as part of a settlement reached with plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit, according to the Seattle Times.
BNSF Railway has reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit surrounding the transportation of coal and petroleum products in open-top freight cars, according to a report from the Seattle Times.
Under the settlement agreement, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Class I railroad will clean up coal and petroleum coke spilled from open-top rail cars, as well as pay $1 million to finance environmental projects in Washington state and conduct a feasibility for covering these types of shipments.
The suit was brought initially in 2013 by seven environmental groups – Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge – that initially asked for $4.6 trillion in damages, BNSF said in a November 2016 statement publicizing the preliminary settlement agreement. The groups claimed coal dust from BNSF trains contaminated waterways up and down the Pacific Northwest.
“Our settlement of $1 million, which will fund supplemental environmental projects in Washington, reflects the truth that these sweeping allegations were simply unfounded,” the company said.
“This settlement rightfully places the burden of cleaning up contamination from coal trains with the company responsible for the pollution, and it will also lead the way in affirming technologies to prevent coal from entering waterways in the future,” Cesia Kearns, deputy regional campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement released by the plaintiffs.
The case is Sierra Club Inc. et al. v. BNSF Railway Co. et al., case number 2:13-cv-00967, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.