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UP's Schafer takes home AAR's 'Chafee' environmental award


A Union Pacific Railroad maintenance-of-way director is the latest winner of the Association of American Railroads' (AAR) top environmentalist award.

Yesterday, the AAR announced Deb Schafer, UP's general director maintenance of way-environmental, is this year's recipient of the John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award.

The award is named after former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee's late father, who promoted the environmental advantages of rail transportation. The AAR presents the award annually to recognize a railroad employee who has demonstrated outstanding environmental awareness and responsibility.

Chosen from among five Chafee award nominees, Schafer was "instrumental in developing environmental management for UP at a time when air compliance monitoring was first evolving, most notably in California," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement.

She also helped develop environmental management tools, created and implemented an air compliance audit program, and spearheaded UP's participation in a federal Endangered Species Act planning permitting process. In addition, Schafer has been involved in restoration activities on a critical Oregon line that was shut down by a massive mudslide, and the development of a Permit Management System that would provide instant, accurate, and relevant environmental, regulatory and permitting information to all employees, the AAR said.

The other nominees were CSX Transportation Police Officer Steve Purvis, Amtrak Facilities Engineer Robin Reynolds, BNSF Railway Co. General Foreman of Locomotives Dale Spohn and Norfolk Southern Railway Manager of Locomotive Engineering Donald Usak.

The AAR also presented the Congressional Chafee Award to U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who has “forcefully advocated for a cleaner environment and for taking concrete steps to combat global warming," Hamberger said. The award recognizes a congressional member's dedication to the environment.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/24/2008