Locomotives traveling through Middle Village may become quieter, less pollutant

Middle Village
(Julia Moro/QNS)

The Civic United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), an environmental awareness organization based in Middle Village, is working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to switch the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad Service Inc (GWRSI) locomotives to ones that emit less air and noise pollution.

According to Mary Parisen-Lavelle, the chair of CURES, many of the current locomotive trains owned by GWRSI that pass through the Fresh Pond Junction in Middle Village are old and emit toxic fumes hazardous to residents’ health.

“These locomotives are so high polluting,” Parisen-Lavelle said. “It’s detrimental to the health of these densely populated communities they’re going through.”

She also noted that the modern tier four locomotives would produce 95% less air pollution and reduce noise pollution by 75% to 85%.

Parisen-Lavelle also stated that the locomotives used by the GWRSI are loud and cause significant noise pollution when they run by.

“These locomotives are going past schools, backyards, parks, and this cumulative pollution impacts all communities, including the disadvantage in environmental justice,” Parisen-Lavelle said.

In a press release from DOJ released back in January 2023, it revealed that the GWRSI, a privately owned railroad service,  reached a settlement in which the organization would spend $42 million dollars to correct violations and offset associated environmental harm.

“Today’s settlement requires GWRSI to bring its fleet of locomotives into compliance with Clean Air Act pollution control requirements,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The settlement is expected to reduce tons of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution and improve air quality where their trains operate.”

Residents living in Middle Village who are looking to get their voices heard about noise and air pollution coming from the GWRSI locomotives can send the DOJ an email at Pubcomment-ees.emrd@usdoj.gov or send a letter to P.O Box 7611, Washington, D.C., 200044-76111.

Residents can also email, civicsunited@gmail.com for more information on the air and noise pollution coming from these locomotives.