What is the problem?
Omnitrans is not the ONLY concern in the West side of San Bernardino, nor is it our only campaign in that community. The BNSF rail yard, or Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, is located directly in the Westside community of San Bernardino and poses extreme health risks to the residents of that community. In fact, BNSF rail yard is located directly across the street from the local park AND from CCAEJ’s own board president, Terry Flores’s home. As a primary source of goods movement, BNSF is always buzzing with trains and diesel trucks. This is the main concern, the diesel that is constantly spewing from the cargo trains, trucks, and warehouse that is making its way into the lungs of the nearby residents. Studies have shown that due to the high levels of pollution from diesel, children in San Bernardino have the highest levels of reduced lung function and have the slowest lung growth in the State of California. The risk of cancer for residents in San Bernardino that are near the rail yard are 3300 in a million, which is outrageously high compared with the average calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Current expansion of the yard in preparation for increased distribution areas in the county will increase deadly diesel emissions.
So what are we currently doing about the problem?
Well, CCAEJ and our San Bernardino Community Action Team (CAT) have developed a clear Platform for Action that involves going to great lengths to reduce the health impacts brought on by BNSF’s diesel emissions and close proximity. The community wants an effective buffer between their homes, parks, and schools and the BNSF property. This would include trees, brick walls, etc., and would greatly reduce the risk of asthma, cancer, and other serious ailments that are known to be triggered by diesel. This is an ongoing campaign that is still developing, if you are interested e-mail us and let us know what you think!