Railroad News

BNSF reaches agreement with federal agencies over spill cleanups, response plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice recently reached an agreement with BNSF Railway Co. over oil spill incidents in three states and the railroad's response plans in Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, the agencies have announced.

Reached late last month, the agreement resolved alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act at several locations in the four states, according to an EPA press release.

The settlement resolves four oil and diesel spills into U.S. waters from BNSF locomotives, as well as "inadequate plans" at the Class I's rail yards in Denver; Guernsey, Wyo.; and Grand Forks and Minot, N.D.

BNSF agreed to pay a civil penalty of $600,000. The Class I also agreed to a comprehensive plan to improve spill prevention and response capacity at its rail facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, said Suzanne Bohan, the EPA's assistant regional administrator for enforcement programs in Denver.

“By addressing these compliance issues, BNSF’s rail yards are now better prepared to safely manage large volumes of oil and fuel and respond effectively to spills that threaten nearby waters and communities," Bohan said.

BNSF addressed the deficiencies by remediating the spill locations, submitting complete plans, investing in spill response capacity and equipment, and installing secondary containment and other infrastructure at the affected rail yards, EPA officials said.

The oil and diesel spills addressed in the agreement occurred in 2010 in South Dakota and in Wyoming, in 2012 in North Dakota, and in 2013 in North Dakota.


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