LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An environmental law group sued the two major railroads operating in Los Angeles on Tuesday, alleging that diesel pollution from their trains is causing health problems for residents living near the yards.
The Natural Resources Defense Council’s complaint, filed in Los Angeles federal court, seeks to hold Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. accountable for what it contends are medical problems
suffered by those living near rail yards in Carson, Commerce and downtown Los Angeles.
The lawsuit seeks to prove harm and force the railroads to clean up the rail yards.
Lena Kent, a spokeswoman for Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF, characterized the suit as one of a series of attacks on “the goods movement industry,” and said the railroad has successfully reduced emissions and purchased new, cleaner locomotives.
“We’ve spent millions of dollars to do our fair share to ensure the railroads are environmentally friendly, and the NRDC completely ignores our efforts,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”
Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific, said the company had not yet seen the filing, but maintained that the railroad is in compliance with state and federal regulations and recently received a Clean Air
Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We are proud of our rail industry leadership role in testing and developing technology that improves fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and provides sustainable freight transportation solutions that support America’s economy,” he said.