Dec 27, 2021

BNSF Fined $1.5 Million for Alleged Clean Water Act Violations

Discharges of pollutants, including oil, into federally protected waterways are violations of the Clean Water Act. 

oil spill

BNSF Railway Corporation has agreed to pay $1,513,750 to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to the U.S. EPA, BNSF released approximately 117,500 gallons of heavy crude oil when one of its freight trains derailed outside of Doon, Iowa, in June 2018, resulting in discharges to the Rock River, Little Rock River, and Burr Oak Creek.

“Illegal discharges of oil into streams, rivers and wetlands present a significant threat to human health and the environment,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister in the news release. “EPA is committed to protecting our nation’s waterways and will ensure that Clean Water Act protections are upheld.”

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EPA Region 7 encompasses the Sandhills of Nebraska, Flint Hills of Kansas, winding Missouri and Mississippi rivers, prairies and plains of Iowa, and forests and delta of Missouri.

EPA says the derailment occurred during heavy flooding in the area, reported the news release. As a result, the oil spill: prompted an evacuation order for nearby residents; elevated levels of hazardous substances within the affected site; resulted in the closure of nearby drinking water wells, destruction of crops, and deaths of at least three animals.

BNSF is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas and operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America.

Discharges of pollutants, including oil, into federally protected waterways are violations of the Clean Water Act. 

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