BNSF Agrees To Pay $600,000 For Environmental Violations

Feb 25, 2016

A BNSF train carrying crude oil passes through Casselton, North Dakota on December 23, 2014.
Credit Emily Guerin / Inside Energy

BNSF Railway has agreed to pay $600,000 to settle alleged environmental violations in Wyoming, Colorado and North Dakota.

The settlement covers several oil spills as well as compliance violations. The largest spill was in 2010, when a train derailed and leaked 7,400 gallons of diesel into the Wind River in central Wyoming. The other violations also involved trains spilling diesel into various bodies of water.

“The fine is a deterrent, to say ‘don’t do this again,’” said Donna Inman, a compliance and enforcement officer with the Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of the settlement, BNSF also had to correct deficiencies in its spill response and prevention plans for rail yards in Denver, Colorado, Guernsey, Wyoming and Minot, North Dakota. The EPA found BNSF did not have adequate plans or equipment to deal with spills at those facilities.

In a statement, BNSF said while it had agreed to settle, "the company does not agree with every allegation outlined in the original complaint." All of the violations identified by the EPA have been corrected.