The Alliance For Northwest Jobs & Exports Statement on BNSF Legal Settlement

SEATTLE – The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports released the following statement today after BNSF railroad reached a settlement with several environmental groups that brought unfounded and outrageous litigation against the company:

Alliance spokeswoman Mariana Parks said:

“Today’s settlement agreement by BNSF in the outrageous $4.6 trillion litigation brought by overzealous environmental groups underscores what we’ve all known for years: that coal dust is not an issue in this region. We’ve known this for nearly as long as trains have run through Washington. 

We knew this 2 years ago, when the Northwest Clean Air Agency found that coal dust from rail traffic wasn’t a concern to our air, water or quality of life. And this position was recently reiterated in the most comprehensive and extensive reviews ever conducted in southwest Washington during the compilation of the draft environmental impact statements for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals by Cowlitz County, the state, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In fact, the Washington State Department of Ecology analysis stated as much when they found that “there would be no unavoidable and significant environmental impacts from coal dust” tied to the project.  

Anyone trying to claim anything else about coal dust is simply promoting an extreme agenda, regardless of the facts. BNSF is a good corporate citizen to the state of Washington, and continues to make significant investments, such as the $26 million spent on rail improvements at the respray facility in Pasco, to improve rail traffic. This settlement, to bring an end to protracted and costly litigation, recognizes the fact that coal will continue to be safely transported through the Northwest, just as it has for well over a century.”