Rail is definitely one of the greenest forms of transportation in this country - but that doesn't mean it's always the healthiest or most community-minded.
Several major environmental groups are suing Union Pacific and Burlington Northern for spewing highly-concentrated amounts of diesel into several low-income California communities, in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. We're not talking normal freeway amounts of diesel smog here - we're talking large railyards full of hundreds of massive diesel engines, and the railroads are planning to build another, bigger railyard that would pollute even more. This is the kind of diesel that causes cancer, asthma, and other respiratory problems - and indeed, San Bernardino has the worst ozone levels in all of California.
UP and BNSF may believe they can win the lawsuit, but there's something that matters more to big companies than even the law: Profit. Call on two of Union Pacific's biggest customers, General Motors and Pacer International, to ask UP to better control the smog levels at their California railyards.
Picture credit: Union Pacific diesel locomotive, courtesy Wikpedia.