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AAR honors Sen. Mikulski, CSX's Durden with environmental stewardship awards

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) yesterday announced that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) will receive the 2014 John H. Chafee Congressional Environmental Award and CSX Transportation Director of Terminal Development Christopher Durden will receive the 2014 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award.

The association's annual environmental stewardship awards are named after the late Rhode Island senator who was a strong advocate for conservation and environmental causes, and appreciated rail's environmental advantages. The awards recognize a member of Congress and a railroad employee who have demonstrated the highest level of environmental stewardship, AAR officials said in a press release.

“Railroads are continuously looking for innovative ways to be excellent stewards of our nation’s environment. Both Senator Mikulski and Chris Durden embody the dedication necessary to ensuring our environment is preserved and protected for generations to come," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger.

Mikulski is committed to protecting air, land and waterways from pollution to preserve the environment, AAR officials said. For decades, she has been a leader on environmental issues in her home state of Maryland, where she has led efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay by restoring water quality, habitats and fisheries, they said. As chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mikulski has supported Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants for energy efficient forms of transportation, including freight and passenger rail.

Over the course of his 39-year career in the railroad and intermodal industries, Durden has devoted himself to developing environmentally friendly, rail-based intermodal terminals, AAR officials said. As director of terminal development, he has incorporated environmental standards into the design and engineering of CSX facilities that will serve as best-practice blueprints for future rail-based intermodal growth, they said.

At CSX’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Facility in North Baltimore, Durden incorporated zero-emission, rail-mounted wide-span cranes that regenerate 60 percent of their power, reducing air pollutants by about 80 percent per lift. He also called for the installation of recyclable steel crossties and recycled plastic-composite track crossings, and the use of triple oil separators for stormwater pretreatment to protect retention basins. To decrease the environmental impact of pavement in North Baltimore and at a Worcester, Mass., terminal, Durden selected rolled-compacted concrete that decreases stormwater runoff, generates less heat and has a longer, lower-maintenance lifespan.

Durden leads a team that brings "a unique understanding of the value of sustainable development" when CSX builds state-of-the-art intermodal facilities, said CSX Intermodal Terminals President Wilby Whitt in a press release.

"Chris's commitment to further raising environmental awareness and including sustainability features within building design has contributed to CSX's success, and this award is a testament to his dedication," he said.

An award-winning member of the American Railway Engineering Maintenance of Way Association, Durden also promotes railway engineering education within higher academic institutions and consults on course requirements for railroad engineering students.

In addition to Durden, the following seven railroaders were nominated for the 2014 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award: Kansas City Southern Purchasing Manager David Bird; Amtrak Plant Manager Robert Costello Jr.; Norfolk Southern Railway Mechanical Engineer Mark Duve; Union Pacific Railroad Manager of Locomotive Engineering Thomas Kennedy; BNSF Railway Co. Public Affairs Director Lena Kent; Canadian Pacific Manager of Structures for Engineering David Kermack; and CN Trancona Shop Director Heather Lamb.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/19/2014