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Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. BNSF Railway Co.

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20284
Nos. 09-1087, (W.D. Wash., 08/19/2011) (Coughenour, J.)

A district court held that a railroad company that operates a railroad-transportation facility in Seattle, Washington, violated the terms of its NDPES permit in violation of CWA §402 and discharged pollutants into U.S. waters in violation of CWA §301. The court granted in part an environmental group's motion for summary judgment on claims that the company violated the terms of its NPDES permit. Although genuine issues of material fact exist as to some of the group's claims, the railway's 2001 stormwater pollution prevention plan failed to include a stormwater sampling plan in violation of the 2002 general permit. The plan also failed to mention direct-to-locomotive fueling that has occurred at the site since 1990, and it failed to describe the potential of pollutants to be present in stormwater discharges. Similar deficiencies were included in the company's 2005 plan. The company also failed to collect and analyze a sample of its stormwater discharges during portions of 2006 through 2009. In addition, the company admitted to claims that it violated CWA §301(a) by discharging stormwater from its railroad-transportation facility without a permit.