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PA RAILROAD COMPANY TO PAY $19 MILLION IN FINES

Release Date: 12/11/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DEC. 11, 1998
RAILROAD COMPANY TO PAY $19 MILLION IN FINES

On Dec. 4, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad Co. (BNSF) entered into a plea agreement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. The agreement calls for the company to pay a fine and restitution of $10 million and its commitment to spend another $9 million in remediation costs for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Since 1968 BNSF has operated a railroad car cleaning operation north of Cherryville, Mo. Cars containing residue of lead concentrate would be cleaned at the facility which resulted in lead sulfide being discharges into the environment. From April 1992 through April 1994 BNSF discharged lead sulfide into Cherry Valley Creek without a federal permit. In addition, on April 8, BNSF employees failed to notify the appropriate government agency that it had released a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance into the environment. The defendant has agreed to pay a fine of $7 million and to make restitution to the state of Missouri in the amount of $3 million to be distributed as follows: $1 million to the Natural Resources Protection Fund; $1.25 million to the Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund; $250,000 to the Hazardous Waste Fund; $300,000 to the Missouri Department of Health: and $200,000 to the Missouri Highway Patrol. The case was jointly investigated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
R-166 ###