San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson announced on Jan. 7 that as part of a multi-jurisdiction prosecution, Placer County Superior Court Judge Alan Pineschi has ordered Union Pacific Railroad Company to pay more than $2.3 million in the settlement of a civil environmental case.
In addition to monetary penalties, Union Pacific will also implement a new environmental compliance assurance program at the company’s respective yards in San Bernardino, Placer, Nevada, and San Joaquin counties. This new program will designate a compliance officer to monitor and report on Union Pacific’s training and compliance at these facilities. This resolution was a direct result of the work of local regulatory agencies as well as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
According to the District Attorneys’ complaint, Union Pacific mishandled hazardous wastes, mishandled materials stored in aboveground storage tanks, maintained inaccurate hazardous material business plans, and was responsible for spills of hazardous substances (including petroleum) over an eight-year period. This settlement resolves the allegations made in the District Attorneys’ complaint.
“This settlement with Union Pacific Railroad Company corrects prior deficiencies and also helps prevent similar issues in the future. I wish to emphasize that Union Pacific Railroad was cooperative and professional throughout our investigation and prosecution as we worked with them to achieve a fair resolution regarding these matters,” said Anderson. “This settlement also requires Union Pacific to improve their staff training as well as management of their respective facilities.”
Under the settlement, Union Pacific must pay $2 million in civil penalties and $313,432 to reimburse the costs of the investigation. Union Pacific must also hire and pay for the environmental compliance officer to strengthen the companies’ environmental protection programs.
This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Rick C. Lal of the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with other District Attorneys’ Offices in California.
Published by fontanaheraldnews.com