Board: BNSF Can Require Coal-Dust Suppression

coaltrainEWAThe Federal Surface Transportation Board says BNSF Railway can require coal shippers to use certain methods to reduce the amount of coal lost from rail cars leaving coal mines of from Wyoming and Montana. In a decision last Wednesday, the board said shippers challenging the railway's coal-loading rules had not shown the measures were unreasonable. It did find one provision related to liability unreasonable.

BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said Tuesday the board's decision ensures coal dust stays in railcars where it belongs. Environmental and other groups have raised concerns about coal dust from trains, as proposed projects in Washington and Oregon aims to ship millions tons of coal by train from the Power River Basin of Montana and Wyoming for export to Asia.

BNSF's new rule requires coal be loaded into a bread loaf shape and sprayed with one of several approved topper agents.

December 17, 2013/AP