October 24, 2014

BNSF to abate unoccupied farm properties on intermodal site

From the Edgerton Insights blog:

Acting as good neighbors and partners, BNSF Railway Company will soon be removing unoccupied farm houses and outbuildings from properties that were purchased for the purpose of constructing the Intermodal Facility and the Allen Group’s separate warehouse development. These properties have been unoccupied since the purchase and this work has been in the planning stages for some time. While BNSF has not provided an exact date for when the removal process will commence, the City will notify the public of the commencement of the removal process via this website.

Please direct questions to David Dillner, City Administrator at (913) 893-6231.

Comments

  1. “Acting as good neighbors and partners” – can Dillner make it any more clear as to who he works for. I don’t think the man has a conscience…………….

    The properties will be vacated on BNSF’s time schedule and they will let their mouthpiece know who then will advise the people. This is what they call transparent government.

  2. Honestly, did he think they were going to just let the buildings stand and build warehouses around them? What a goof.

  3. This article out of California dated 6-16-10 tells you about BNSF being such a “good neighbor and partner”. Note the people have an extraordinary cancer risk which requires an extraordinary action and yet the people are only getting the minimum. Welcome to the BNSF world of intermodals and remember everything is done or not done according to the time schedule of BNSF. Those diesel burning trucks will not be enhancing your life by a long shot and be sure to thank your Gardner politicians when they allow those trucks to be routed thru your town rather than Edgerton and who brought the project to this area in the first place.

    ***********************

    San Bernardino rail yard cleanup plan unveiled
    ~~~~~~~~

    David Danelski

    Jun. 16–A proposed air-pollution cleanup plan for the BNSF Railway yard in San Bernardino calls for slashing 85 percent of diesel emissions that drift into a nearby neighborhood.

    People who live near the BNSF operation in southwest San Bernardino faced an increased cancer risk because of the pollution — an additional 2,500 cases per million people, based on a lifetime of exposure — worse than any other rail yard in the state.

    Most of the emissions reductions outlined in the plan would result from state and federal rules already in place to curb pollution from locomotives, trucks and other equipment. About 16 percent would come from additional, voluntary measures to be selected by the railway company, according to the plan released by the California Air Resources Board.

    A hearing on the plan is scheduled before the air board June 24 in Sacramento.

    Several residents and representatives of an Inland environmental group say the plan should be more aggressive.

    “They are not doing enough,” said Susana Negrete, a mother of three who lives about a block north of the yard. “They (BNSF) have the resources and they have enough money and they have the technology, but they don’t want to invest it.”

    Negrete said her children get nosebleeds and that many of her neighbors have been diagnosed with asthma and cancer.

    Diesel soot emissions from the yard in 2005 were estimated at 22.2 tons a year, resulting in a cancer risk more than 2.5 times higher than any other rail yard in the state. Changes described in the plan would knock that down to 3.4 tons a year by 2020.

    Lena Kent, a BNSF spokeswoman, said that with the additional, voluntary steps, the rail yard pollution in 2020 would be 50 percent less than if the company only imposed state and federal emission rules. Those mandatory measures include the phase-in of cleaner-burning trucks, locomotives, lifts and other equipment used to transfer cargo containers between trains and trucks.

    Kent added that the railroad already has made improvements that have cut pollution by 45 percent since 2005.

    To eliminate more pollution, BNSF may use a combination of cleaner locomotives for assembling trains and electrified cranes and refrigerated cargo units, among other measures, according to the air board plan.

    “We are committed to reducing emissions, but we have the discretion over how we accomplish the reductions,” Kent said.

    Penny Newman, executive director of the Glen Avon-based Center for Community Action and Environment Justice, said much more needs to be done to help the residents who live around the BNSF yard.

    “This is an extraordinary cancer risk,” she said. “It requires extraordinary action, and we are getting the minimum.”

  4. Here is another recent article out of Montana telling us what “good neighbors and partners” BNSF are – LOL – or should I say cry out loud.

    *******************************

    Diane Cochran

    May 12–Property owners on the Crow Indian Reservation say BNSF Railway Co. has perpetually neglected fences that keep livestock off its tracks, putting cattle and people who drive on an adjacent highway at risk.

    But the railroad says repairs to the barbed-wire barriers have been adequate, and it can’t replace a fence simply because it is old.

    “It is BNSF’s standard in Montana to maintain and repair fences along our rights of way,” said company spokesman Gus Melonas in Seattle. “In the Lodge Grass area, we have sent fencers out and have fixed areas that were problematic.”

    A crew did recently work on fences near Lodge Grass, said Lyle Neal, a brand inspector who fields calls from ranchers when cows get loose. But the workers were not experienced fencers and did not fix the problem, Neal said.

    “They put a Band-Aid on heart surgery,” he said. “You can’t call it even beginning to be fixed.”

    Montana law requires railroads to build and maintain fences along their tracks and cattle guards at their crossings. If livestock slip through and are hurt or killed by trains, the railroad must pay fair market value for the animals.

    Glenn Elhard, a rancher near Dunmore, said he is still waiting for BNSF to pay him for a 3-year-old cow that was killed on the tracks last November.

    Elhard didn’t wait for the railroad to send someone to fix the fence.

    “I fixed it,” he said. “By the time they got around to it, your whole herd could be in jeopardy.”

    Elhard and other landowners say the fencing dates to at least the 1920s, when their grandparents moved into the area. The wire is brittle and snaps when it is stretched, and in places it sags between posts that are 25 feet apart.

    “If I built a fence like that when I was a kid, my dad would have blistered my bottom all the way across town,” said Bob Bond, whose property near Lodge Grass abuts the railroad tracks.

    Lost livestock is not the only risk posed by subpar fences, Neal said. Cattle that get onto the tracks are steps away from the highway, where they endanger motorists.

    Bill Redfield gave up on BNSF after a letter from the Public Service Commission failed to produce results. He complained about the fence along his property to the PSC, which is charged with enforcing the state’s railroad fencing law.

    “I have built a fence 100 to 150 yards back from their fence on my property,” Redfield said. “I had to do something.”

  5. This recent article tells you how the neighborhood around an intermodal in California is “impoverished” rather than the roads paved in gold as the local politicians tell us about. Make no mistake about it, those trucking companies will not convert their trucks until they are forced to and as we saw well when those trucking companies were certainly lobbying against an environmental bill submitted by Jo. County and which got stopped at the committee level in our legislature. You will not only be impoverished, you will be sick and you will pay a pretty penny for these adverse afffects. The 262 trucks referred to in this article is just a drop in the bucket as to how many trucks you will be dealing with. Tell me again, how BNSF is a good neighbor and partner and the politicians watch out for my best interests……………

    ******************************

    Cassie MacDuff

    Apr. 17–J.B. Hunt’s eleventh-hour pullout from the deal to replace diesel trucks with natural gas-powered rigs at the intermodal railyard in San Bernardino was a huge disservice to the impoverished neighborhood around it.

    The Westside neighborhood has the highest cancer risk near any of the 16 railyards in California — 2 1/2 times greater than average.

    Another company will replace Hunt. But its trucks will operate throughout Southern California, so the benefits won’t focus on the neighborhood of 7,000 mostly Latino residents.

    Much of the increased health risk results from lung-damaging diesel emissions — not just fine particles that penetrate lungs, but the chemicals in them.

    BNSF has cut in half the pollution from its rail equipment at the site since 2005, a spokeswoman has said.

    But diesel big rigs going in and out of the yard contribute 25 percent of the pollution at the site, said Casey Dailey, assistant to the mayor for environmental issues.

    And J.B. Hunt is the yard’s biggest customer, he said.

    “To say we were upset or disappointed (at Hunt’s decision) would be a colossal understatement,” he said.

    J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. agreed last year to use $19.3 million in state and federal grants secured by the San Bernardino Associated Governments to clean up air pollution in cities.

    Hunt was to have matched the taxpayer funds with $23 million of its own money.

    The public-private partnership would have replaced 262 diesel engines with natural gas-powered engines, Dailey said. Of those, 121 would have been based at the San Bernardino yard.

    On Feb. 2, just days before the SANBAG board was to approve the project, Hunt Senior Vice President Gary Whicker sent a letter saying the company decided to postpone converting any of its fleet to liquefied natural gas.

    Whicker cited the economy and business priorities in deciding to use “scarce company resources” on “core business activities” instead.

    SANBAG officials were under the gun to find another trucking company to convert part of its fleet to natural gas. They couldn’t patch together several firms; it had to be a single company.

    Ryder System Inc., the nationally recognized truck-rental firm, stepped up.

    It will purchase more than 200 heavy-duty natural gas-powered trucks, build natural gas fueling stations at three Southern California locations and maintain the trucks at shops in Orange, Rancho Dominguez and Rancho Cucamonga.

    The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, which is working with the Westside neighbors, sent a letter to Hunt more than a week ago asking the company to reconsider, said Executive Director Penny Newman.

    It received no response. Nor did I when I called Hunt headquarters for comment.

    The environmental justice group will hold a rally outside the railyard Tuesday, hoping to get Hunt back on board, Newman said.

    “If we are going to throw public money out there, it really should go to those areas that are most impacted,” she said.

    I couldn’t agree more.

  6. It pays to keep good records. You will learn that after reading this article out of Minnesota – BNSF will take you for another ride if you don’t.

    ***********************************

    Carolyn Lange

    Apr. 10–ATWATER — A well-used sidewalk that has crossed the railroad tracks in Atwater for more than 50 years could be ripped up unless the city applies for a permit from Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

    A motion offered Wednesday during the Atwater City Council meeting to apply for the permit died for a lack of a second.

    The City Council is “wondering why they’re getting charged for a permit for the first time in 50 years,” City Clerk Goldie Smith said.

    Amy McBeth, spokeswoman for BNSF, said Friday the railway company will work with the city to resolve the issue.

    Last month the city received a letter from BNSF saying the railroad was unable to locate an existing permit for the “pedestrian only” crossing on Second Street and if the city wanted the sidewalk to remain, it needed a private crossing agreement with BNSF.

    A $600 non-refundable fee is required along with the application.

    Without an agreement, BNSF will “permanently remove the pedestrian crossing within 90 days,” according to a letter.

    After searching city records, Smith found council minutes from 1959 that show the city and the railroad — Great Northern Railway at the time — had negotiated a formal agreement regarding the sidewalk. She’s hoping those 50-year-old records will be enough to satisfy BNSF today.

    The story starts back in January of 1959 when Atwater residents expressed their unhappiness with the “inadequate” railroad crossings on Second and Third Streets. The city requested “modern” signals be installed at both crossings.

    A deal that was struck between the city and railroad is spelled out in a resolution approved during a special City Council meeting on Oct. 23, 1959.

    Under the arrangement, the crossing on Second Street would be closed to vehicular traffic and the railroad company would install automatic warning signals down the block at the railroad crossing on Third Street.

    Another part of the deal was retaining “the present pedestrian crosswalk” on Second Street, according to the resolution.

    The sidewalk is in good condition. New concrete was installed just a few years ago, according to Smith.

    McBeth said BNSF has received copies of the documents and is reviewing them. “We will work with the city,” she said.

  7. I’ve always said that BNSF was nothing if not neighborly (dripping with sarcasm).

  8. Seriously says:

    Seriously, Judith…. can you do nothing but copy and paste. Show up at a council meeting and address your concerns in person. Let us see your smiling face.

  9. I truly wish my health would allow me to show up at Council Meetings and many more meetings. I would truly love to question a lot of things that have gone on or are going on that to me so adversely affect the people of this area and state. And I would love to do it face to face with some of these people who call themselves representatives of the people.

    I copy and paste to inform you and as you can see BNSF pulls their neighborly acts throughout the nation, if that is what you want to call them. You will soon be finding out since you will be dealing with them for the rest of your life and the lives of your children, grandchildren, etc. if they have to stay in the hellhole that will come to place.

    But even if I did show up at Council Meetings as I have in the past, I know those worthless politicians won’t be listening to me or my concerns because they have shown time and time again to not work for average citizens such as myself – they work and whore themselves for the corporate slimeballs and the takers in this world.

  10. Well, Judith, I for one appreciate your copy and paste and, for that matter, your opinions. I also appreciate that you have the guts to put your real name. I have noticed when you try to make a point you are constantly put down. In this case when you use someone else’s words to make a point you are put down. I guess you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But, obviously, they are reading what you post – so keep it up, girl. They hate you for your facts.

    I wonder if “Seriously” is Steve Hale. Seriously.

  11. I might add that when you have a city government that only allows a citizen 5 minutes to make comments, ask questions, etc., at a city council meeting and at a certain time of their choosing, then you don’t have a government for the people, by the people or of the people. And as another reminder when the Intermodal Review Committee was in effect, the people were NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK WHATSOEVER and when it was finalizing, they only allowed the people to speak for 3 minutes – tell me again why I should show up for a government that is run in this manner by worthless politicians and city bureaucrats. I have a smile on my face quite alot with the joys in my life but it is hard to put a smile on your face when you have dealt with a lousy government entity that operates in this manner and worse. I am sure BNSF, the Allen Group, Paul Licausi, Walmart, 21 business owners along Main St. and some others have a smile on their faces considering the sweet deals they get from the worthless politcians. Go talk to them if you are looking for smiles and slimy wheeling and dealing. I will save my smiles for those that deserve them.

  12. Jack Burden says:

    @Judith … I remember you mentioning before that they used to take video for the absent council members.(specifically E. Schulz) Couldn’t they do that and stream the video on the Cuty website? So that people not required to be at council meetings can still watch the proceedings at their convenience? There has to be a way to get people involved and the Council minutes are not complete enough and it takes forever to post them. I think area communities much smaller than ours do this already.

  13. Jack: When I made that comment about about video taping meetings for No Show Schultz, it was a tongue in cheek remark indicating my contempt.

    Olathe and Johnson County make video and live telecasts available to the people and I remember when I sent I don’t know how many e-mails over an extended period of time to the Jo. Co. Commissioners asking for that service thinking perhaps citizens would take advantage of this service so they could be better informed and educated as to what is going on in their county. I don’t know that the people have taken advantage of it because it seems to me we still have the same ole apathy that allows worthless politicians to do as they please and they continue to support and enable the thieves and takers in our society.

    Would I encourage the city of Gardner to offer this service to its citizens – I certainly would with no hesitation with the hopes that the people would once again start taking care of THEIR BUSINESS. Do we have the money for it now??? I hardly think so because the cronies have been taken care of to the point of detriment to the citizens. Just as we see on the national front, the day of reckoning is upon us for our past actions or inactions and everyone is paying dearly and mostly the average citizen who was thrown in the trunk instead of being placed in the front seat where they always should be in my opinion.

    Ask your so-called representatives to be looking for any and all grants, contributions, etc. so we could have live and video taped meetings available to the people – I think it is very worthwhile but I have to wonder if City Hall will once again ignore the request such as the one I made about letting the people make comments, ask questions, etc. after each new business item is discussed in full by the Council but prior to their vote like the County does. I would even go so far as allowing disabled people such as myself make comments, ask questions, etc. via e-mail but that is so forward thinking they couldn’t even contemplate that one. When your Council and Mayor do not want citizen involvement and stonewall any requests for such, then I think you have a monumental problem right there before even thinking about all of the other problems involved.

    It will take a true re-awakening and involvement of ALL of the people before we are going to be seeing any signs of improvement to our country in my opinion but I do believe those efforts need to be taken in every citizen’s backyard at the local level – that is where you start taking back your country and making a difference and let it work its way up to the federal level.

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