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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP, EPA reach settlement on alleged environmental violations


Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it reached a settlement with Union Pacific Railroad regarding alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act.

The EPA alleges that in 2003 and 2004, six oil spills occurred along UP’s lines in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, and three coal spills occurred in Colorado. In addition, UP violated the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) regulations due to inadequate SPCC plans or inadequate plan implementation at 20 yards, and failed to provide certifications and reports for storm water pollution prevention plans at six yards, the EPA claims.

As part of the settlement, UP will pay a civil penalty of $1.5 million, of which about $1.4 million will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that’s used by federal agencies to respond to oil spills, and $100,000 will be deposited into the U.S. Treasury for coal spills and storm water violations, EPA officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, the railroad must develop a management and reporting system to ensure compliance with SPCC and FRP regulations, and storm water requirements at the 20 yards; take further actions to control storm water runoff at Burnham Yard in Denver; install a secondary containment system to safely store oil and prevent oil spills; and designate an environmental vice president responsible for complying with oil spill prevention and storm water control requirements at the 20 yards, according to the EPA.

“Union Pacific has already begun putting necessary measures in place and we will ensure they continue to do so,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jim Martin.

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More News from 2/10/2012