Some extreme environmentalists in Washington State are crowing about their “victory” over Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), after the company agreed to a $1 million dollar settlement in a Clean Air Act lawsuit that was filed in 2013.
The long-running nuisance lawsuit was settled by BNSF in exchange for a 5-year moratorium on groups like the Sierra Club filing more lawsuits like this. Essentially, BNSF took out an insurance policy that will cost far less than continuing to fight the extremists in court.
As the company spokesperson said, “Today’s settlement agreement by BNSF in the outrageous $4.6 trillion litigation brought by overzealous environmental groups underscores what we’ve all known for years: that coal dust is not an issue in this region. We’ve known this for nearly as long as trains have run through Washington.”
Of course, the enviros tried to put a positive spin on their loss, claiming in Crosscut that “This wasn’t about money, it’s about stopping pollution.”
Yet, whenever a green group claims that it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. That’s why they sued for trillions of dollars. However, they knew they had a losing case when the judge who heard the case “acknowledged that the simplest solution would be to require BNSF to cover their coal cars — but such a ruling is not under his purview. ‘The law is such that for me as a district judge in Washington State to tell one railroad in a national system of railroads how to run their railroad is not what the law permits.’”
So, the nuisance suit goes away, BNSF will conduct a study that may well insulate it from future lawsuits, and the extreme greenies get to claim victory. A legal win-win-win situation, except for the waste of time that such lawsuits cause.
But that’s to solve another day.