The Sierra Club and partner organizations filed a lawsuit today against BNSF Railways and several coal producers. The suit claims the companies are violating the federal Clean Water Act when they discharge coal dust along railways from the Powder River Basin without permits to do so.
Pacific Northwest Regional Press Secretary for Sierra Club’ Beyond Coal campaign, Krista Collard, says a letter of intent to file the suit was sent to all parties two months ago, but they did little to limit coal dust pollution.
“We were hoping that they would do the right thing and mitigate the problem, you know, stop polluting the US waterways. Of course we didn’t see that happen in the last 60 days which is why we had to file suit today,” says Collard.
BNSF Railways released a statement saying it is “committed to preventing coal dust from escaping while in transit,” and called the suit “a publicity stunt meant to stop the permitting of multi-commodity export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.”