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Posts tagged: refueling depot

County Proposes BNSF Conditions

Item: County proposes BNSF conditions: Railroad stalled previous proposals with lawsuit/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: Kootenai County is attempting again to improve safety conditions at a train refueling station above the region's drinking water source. The county commissioners are proposing new amendments to the permit conditions for Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railroad's refueling depot in Hauser, after previous proposals were stalled by a lawsuit from the railroad.

Question: Has BNSF gained your trust by its handling of the refueling depot in the past 7 years?

BNSF Has Fueled Us Before

In fact, says Geoffrey Harvey of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, traces of the 2004 leak are still detected in the aquifer. “It’s still an open case. The cleanup standard in the aquifer is ‘no detection,’ which is a very high standard. There are a few polyaromatic hydrocarbons — which are components of diesel — that are still detected,” Harvey says. The amounts are really, really tiny, he says, “but they are not below detection. And that’s the rule for this aquifer because 500,000 people drink from it.” The depot has a clean safety record since it reopened in 2005 after 74 days of court-ordered shutdown and $10 million in repairs, Harvey says/Kevin Taylor, Inlander. More here.

Question: Easily, the worst vote that a Kootenai County commission has made in my 26 years in Coeur d’Alene has been the 2-to-1 decision (Dick Compton & Dick Panabaker vs. Ron Rankin) to allow the railroad to build the refueling depot at Hauser. Can you think of something worse?

BNSF Fights New Environment Rules

BNSF Railway Co. is suing Kootenai County over new regulations proposed for the railroad’s Hauser diesel refueling depot. The railroad – which refuels an average of 30 trains at the depot daily – says that operations at the site are governed by federal transportation law, and that counties lack the ability to impose their own rules. “Kootenai County does not have the authority to regulate freight railroad facilities or operations that are part of the interstate rail transportation system,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene last week. The fueling depot lies over the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, which provides drinking water for more than 500,000 of the region’s residents/Becky Kramer, SR. More here. (SR File Photo)

DFO: This is why you never ever give the railroad an inch, because once they shake down a local government for a conditional use permit they’ll stonewall and sue through their battery of lawyers not to do a scintilla more to protect the environment. When I was on the editorial board, I fought tooth and nail against the refueling depot. Now, BNSF is showing its true colors. We never should have allowed these snakes to build that depot over our aquifer. Period.

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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