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Originally published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 9:43 AM

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Groups to sue BNSF, others over coal in waterways

Several conservation groups plan to sue Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and top U.S. coal producers, claiming they discharge coal into Washington state waterways in violation of federal law.

The Associated Press

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SEATTLE —

Several conservation groups plan to sue Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and top U.S. coal producers, claiming they discharge coal into Washington state waterways in violation of federal law.

The groups allege the companies discharge coal, coal chunks, coal dust and other pollutants into state waters from rail cars that transport Rocky Mountain coal throughout Washington.

The Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Columbia Riverkeeper and other groups on Tuesday notified BNSF, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, Cloud Peak Energy and others of their plan to bring a citizen lawsuit under the federal Clean Water Act.

The group says the train and rail cars are point sources of pollution, and that the companies should have gotten a permit for the discharges.

A comment from BNSF Railway was not immediately available Tuesday.

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