2 US railroads face unique pollution lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An environmental group is suing two of the nation's biggest railroads under an untested legal theory that diesel exhaust is hazardous waste and companies should be held accountable for health problems suffered by residents living near California rail yards.
The Natural Resources Defense Council on Tuesday filed a federal court lawsuit against Union Pacific Corp. and BNSF Railway Co., accusing them of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which regulates hazardous solid waste disposal.
The group claims minute particles in diesel exhaust, including lead, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic elements, are solid waste.
Burlington spokeswoman Lena Kent calls the lawsuit unreasonable and says the railroad has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce emissions. Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt could not immediately be reached for comment.