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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Congressmen put more pressure on Metrolink to study potential health risks of Cypress Park rail yard

Congressmen Xavier Becerra and Adam Schiff   today repeated requests that Metrolink conduct an extensive study of the potential health risks posed by its rail maintenance center in Cypress Park.

During a press conference held this morning across the Los Angeles River in Elysian Valley, Schiff, who was  joined by about 50 other officials and residents, said the commuter rail agency has so far refused to agree to a health assessment study despite repeated requests by his office. In addition to noise generated by idling engines, many residents have also expressed concern about  particulate matter- small particles of pollution that can be inhaled – in the exhaust of the many diesel engines serviced at the center. A health assessment could provide evidence that could support or refute such worries.

“Metrolink has consistently failed to address community fears about the health risk of living near the facility and stonewalled calls for a health assessment,” said Schiff,according to a statement. “We are calling on Metrolink – for what we hope will be the final time – to commit today to a health risk assessment of the health impacts of emissions from their diesel trains.”

In response, Metrolink issued a statement saying that it “takes the concerns being raised by the community …. very seriously” and has already implemented a number of measures to address issues raised by residents:

For example, Metrolink is now running up to 17 locomotives on electric power while they are being inspected at the [rail yard]. We have purchased electric forklifts to replace the diesel units we had been using, and we are planning to purchase a new electric rail car mover to replace our current diesel model. We also recently purchased 20 state-of-the-art low emission “Tier 4” locomotives, the first commuter rail system in the country to do so. Finally, we are working closely with AQMD to undertake an assessment of the [rail yard’s] current and future operations. We look forward to continuing to work with the community and all other interested parties to address these issues as it relates to the [rail yard’s] operations.

Congressman Becerra, in a statement, credited Metrolink for reducing noise and air pollution at the Cypress Park yard, which is located between San Fernando Road and the L.A River. But, he added, more needed to be done

“I urge Metrolink to take seriously the community’s request to conduct a health risk assessment of the Central Maintenance Facility in Cypress Park,” said Becerra said “Area residents deserve as expeditious a process and response as possible to address their air quality and noise concerns.”

Congressman Schiff take the podium at Elysian Valley press conference this morning./Office of Adam Schiff

Related Links:

  • Residents fear cancer, asthma risks from Metrolink train emissions. L.A. Times
  • Congressman wants Metrolink to study health impact of Cypress Park rail yard. The Eastsider


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6 comments

  1. I’m pretty sure that the Metrolink CMF contributes to air (and probably ground and water) pollution but honestly — how does it compare to the pollution coming from the 2, 110 and 5 Freeways that pass through the area?

  2. Josef Bray-Ali

    How about these jerks tell all of us what they are prepared to do if Metrolink trains are polluting the air. If it’s “commission a study on what to do” I think the trains should be allowed to pollute – because, in that case, we just might be too stupid as a people to have the right to carry on in that fashion.

    Seriously, what are our elected reps. going to do if there is pollution coming from this train yard? We don’t need a multi-million dollar “study” to get an answer to that, do we?

    I’m bringing an airhorn to the next press conference on this issue and letting loose unless all these suits we elected can come up with a plan to do something if it turns out the pollution and noise from this yard are bad enough to warrant such action.

    In the evenings I get a powerful does of disgusting exhaust filled air in my shop – and it makes me sad to know that we are “studying the issue”. Well, what if the studies show there is real harm being done? How much harm needs to be done before these dudes act?

  3. A specific point source Health Risk Assessment using data Metrolink already has on record, combined with topographical and meteorological data can be conducted for around $50,000.

    • Just because there are freeways nearby does not mean that we should not attempt to control a point source of pollution from the train yard. Car emissions are controlled by regulations. Trains should be controlled as well.

      Also, I need to point out that the claim Metrolink is using electrical hook up on “up to 17 trains” is belied by close observation of the train yard. The electrical hook up mentioned are to connect the trains to electrical outlets while doing interior cleaning and such. They have been using large diesel motors to generate power for such uses as small vacuums etc. Very little has changed despite promises over a year ago to change to electrical hook ups.

      The bottom line is that this yard is placing the burdens of train maintenance for a regional system on the backs of a few communities who not incidentally are also located smack in the middle of the developing park lands of the LA River.

      This needs to end.

  4. MetroLink has taken steps to reduce the pollution and the noise. MetroLink has been great and very cooperative. Very little is left to be done. MetroLink is not the problem. Union Pacific is the problem. MetroLink is not the bad guy. Union Pacific is the bad guy.

  5. No one is going after Union Pacific about their pollution and their train noise. No one wants to take on the real problem.

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