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.

Comments (9)
  1. fox mulder says:

    GO HUG A TREE….trains are kind of important to the nation and the economy is bad enough without you tacking on operating costs by sueing someone….what would you like trains do…run by solar power…you people are whats wrong with this country today and the courts should throw your stupid lawsuites out and fine you for wasting their time

    1. Dana Scully says:

      I agree with Fox, sick of the do-gooders , they dont have to have moved there, if you can’t take the situation move.

  2. PeteM says:

    The lawsuit seeks to prove harm and force the railroads to clean up the rail yards.

    This says it all. They have yet to prove that the railroad is polluting the environment. Bloody whackos!

  3. clareee says:

    I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of these homes were there AFTER the railroad was built. They were probably the worker homes for the families. If you purchased a house that all of this smoke and etc. is raining down on, it is YOUR fault, not the railroads. They were there first.

    1. Al says:

      Indeed, there is plenty of space to move elsewhere. They should have considered that fact before deciding to live there.

  4. Al says:

    Exactly, why don’t we just stop commerce all together or run the engines off of solar power. I’d love to see those engines suck the juice out of those. All of these decades of railroading and they just know complain. Give me a break, they just want a free hand out.

  5. Alek F says:

    What a pathetic display of narrow-mindedness of those local NIMBY’s.
    It appears, target the relatively clean and environmentally-friendly trains while ignoring massive exhaust and pollution from cars and adjacent freeways.
    Those residents are truly messed-up in their heads.
    I wish the judges would throw out their cases and this environmental group should be severely penalized for filing frivolous lawsuits!
    Please, learn about trains versus cars, before targeting innocent modes of transportation!

  6. LAofAnaheim says:

    Why don’t they sue the highways?

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