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BNSF fined $71K for late reports on oil leaks, hazardous spills along railways

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state regulators have fined BNSF Railway $71,700 for tardy reporting of crude oil leaks and other hazardous material spills along the state’s railway.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission on Monday approved a settlement agreement between the railroad and its staff. But the UTC removed a provision that would have suspended $40,000 of the penalty if the railroad complied with reporting requirements for a year.

Commissioners said in their order that imposing the entire penalty would give BNSF more incentive to follow reporting requirements.

The company initially faced up to $700,000 in potential fines. In March, regulators issued a complaint alleging that BNSF failed to report 14 releases to the state within the required time period. The incidents occurred at BNSF facilities throughout the state, including Seattle, Vancouver, Blaine and Everett.

BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace says the company is reviewing Monday’s order.