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BNSF pays US$1 million environmental settlement

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Dry Bulk,

BNSF Railway is to pay US$1 million following polluted waterways allegedly caused by coal from the company’s open-topped rail cars. The money will be used for clean up projects in Bellingham, Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Spokane River. Additionally, BNSF will look into covers for use on its coal trains.

A spokeswoman for BNSF, Courtney Wallace, said that the US$1 million settlement is small compared with initial lawsuits that sought trillions of dollars and that the original allegations were sweeping and unfounded.

"It is important to note the settlement reflects that BNSF denies any violations of the Clean Water Act and that BNSF has implemented a regime requiring the use of the best commercially available technology to address coal dust as upheld by the Surface Transportation Board, the federal agency with oversight over rail industry practices," said Wallace.

“[The] settlement does not require a particular outcome or conclusion with respect to car covers," Wallace added. "The study results will be driven by data and technical analysis."

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