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UP to EPA: Railroad isn't liable for lead contamination in Omaha

Union Pacific Railroad “strongly objects” to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order to clean up lead-contaminated soil at an Omaha, Neb., site. The railroad will pay tens of millions of dollars to remedy problems created by others, UP officials said in a prepared statement.

About 60 years ago, UP leased part of the land to a lead smelter. A few years later, the smelter purchased the land from the Class I and operated at the site into the 1990s.

UP officials have asked the EPA to drop legal actions and work with Omaha leaders to develop a solution.

“Union Pacific has offered $11 million to fund a comprehensive program to reduce risks associated with lead-based paint and lead in soil,” said UP Vice President of Environment and Safety Bob Grimaila. “We believe that UP is not liable for the pollution … and we intend to fight this administratively and in the courts.”

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More News from 8/3/2005