A proposed BNSF freight hub would increase air pollution in the Kansas City area, causing doubt about the future of a $750 million intermodal facility that would boost movement of goods between trains and trucks.
In Gardner, Ks., a Kansas City suburb where pollution already exceeds federal air standards, BNSF’s plans are coming under fire from the Mid-America Regional Council, which has lodged its concerns with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to the project.
The council says that diesel emissions from the intermodal facility would increase the level of fine particulates, which more easily enter the body and cause respiratory problems than larger particles of pollution or dust, reports Pennlive.com.
The Army Corps of Engineers, in its initial assessment of the proposal, found that the facility would have moderate to significant adverse affects on air quality, traffic and streams.
BNSF counters that emissions would fall within the first 20 years of the facility’s operation, while environmentalists say that the number of trucks that would use the hub has been understated.
BNSF has an average of 220,000 freight cars in use in its system, with 6,700 locomotives.