Spokane Valley project manager Ken Knutson plugs an ear against a BNSF freight train horn blast at Park Road south of Trent Avenue.
Each year, BNSF Railway Co. pays about $100,000 for programs that protect the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.
The money is funneled through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, where it helps teach school kids about the aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 500,000 of the region’s residents; pays for inspections of industrial sites, including BNSF’s diesel refueling depot in Hauser; and funds collaborative work with other agencies aimed at keeping the aquifer free of contaminants.
The payments date to the 2004 opening of the depot, where up to 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel is pumped into each locomotive. But BNSF wants the payments to stop after 2013. Becky Kramer, SR
What do you think of BNSF's position?