“Today’s agreement reflects BNSF’s responsibility for past spills as well as a comprehensive effort to improve spill prevention and response capacity at the company’s rail facilities in Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming,” EPA Assistant Regional Administrator for Enforcement Programs Suzanne Bohan said.
BNFS locomotive engines were responsible for four spills between 2010 and 2013, and EPA investigations of BNFS facilities, including two unannounced exercises simulating spills, showed that they were not prepared to respond to them. The company will pay a $600,000 civil penalty, and has already taken steps to address its preparedness issues and remediate areas affected by the four spills.
“By addressing these compliance issues, BNSF’s rail yards are now better prepared to safely manage large volumes of oil and fuel and respond effectively to spills that threaten nearby waters and communities," Bohan said. "The beneficiaries of these actions are aquatic life, natural habitats and the people who rely on the South Platte River, the North Platte River, the Red River of the North, and the Souris River for drinking water, agriculture and recreation.”