Alaska Railroad takes steps to reduce coal dust

From The Associated Press, Friday, July 9, 2010:

The Alaska Railroad Corp. is taking steps to reduce coal dust that for years has dirtied the scenic tourist town of Seward.

The railroad and Aurora Energy Services have reached an agreement with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to install measures to control the coal dust that residents say flies from huge piles of coal at the loading facility next to the harbor.

The railroad has agreed to pay a fine of nearly $220,000, with much of that money going toward the cost of mitigation measures. Those include installing multiple high pressure spray bars to keep dust down, and sealing and adding a misting system inside the coal chute.

The railroad and Aurora, which is an affiliate of the Usibelli coal mine near Healy, also are required to maintain the new mitigation systems and to monitor all ship loading, railcar unloading and stockpile activities at the coal terminal. The DEC’s compliance order also sets in place quicker procedures for public complaints.

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