SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has allowed a lawsuit over coal trains to proceed against BNSF Railway.
Seven environmental groups sued BNSF last summer, alleging it violated the law by allowing railcars to spill coal and other pollutants into waterways.
U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour on Wednesday denied BNSF’s motion to dismiss. The company had argued the groups didn’t give sufficient notice and didn’t have proper standing to sue.
Trains currently carry coal from the Rockies through Spokane, Seattle and along the Columbia River Gorge to an export terminal in British Columbia. More are expected if coal-export terminals are built at Cherry Point in Whatcom County and in Longview.
A similar lawsuit against BNSF is pending in federal court in Yakima. In January, a federal judge also denied the railroad company’s motion to dismiss that suit.