Environmentalists win a round in coal dust lawsuit vs. BNSF

Allison Roberts News

While it may not be the “major victory” that environmental groups are trumpeting in their press release, the Thursday, Jan. 2 ruling by a Yakima federal judge certainly avoids a major defeat in their lawsuit targeting coal dust emissions from BNSF rail cars rolling through Washington state.

Lonny Suko, Senior U.S. District Judge, denied a motion to dismiss the July 24, 2013 lawsuit filed against BNSF by a coalition of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Bellingham-based Re Sources for Sustainable Communities. The lawsuit charged that BNSF coal trains were discharging coal dust into Washington waterways. Those discharges are a violation of the Clean Water Act because the railroad has no permit for them as the act requires, the lawsuit says.

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