Communities To California Railroads: Clean Up Your Act

Today, NRDC and two of our community partners, East Yards Communities For Environmental Justice and the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice sent letters to California’s two major rail yard operators regarding illegally disposing hazardous waste thereby increasing the risk of serious health problems such as chronic respiratory disease and cancer in neighboring communities.  The 90-day notice letters tell the railroads to clean up their California rail yards or face litigation under the federal Resource Conservation and Restoration Act (RCRA). 

As I've written about before, these rail yards, owned by Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, are major sources of diesel particulate emissions in their surrounding neighborhoods.  These emissions contain hazardous solid particles that contribute to elevated cancer risk in the areas surrounding the rail yards. 

Under RCRA, parties can sue to obtain an injunction halting an imminent and substantial danger to human health or the environment; what we did today was give the required 90 days notice to BNSF and UP that we intend to sue unless they clean up their property and reduce the diesel pollution harming Californians living within breathing distance of these 16 facilities. 

I hope that the railroads will come to the table and work this out.  But if not, the courts are open.

Related Issues
Climate Change

Related Blogs