WASHINGTON — A CSX Transportation employee from Jacksonville, Fla., was recently named the railroad industry’s top environmentalist.
Michael E. O’Malley, who is assistant chief engineer, facilities, for CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, was one of five railroaders who were nominated to receive the John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award, named after the late Senator from Rhode Island, a strong environmentalist who understood and promoted the environmental advantages of rail transportation.
Also honored at the reception was Delaware Senator Thomas Carper, who received the Congressional Chafee Award which annually goes to a member of Congress who, like Senator Chafee, is dedicated to the environment.
“It is particularly appropriate that we honor these individuals today, just one day before people around the world commemorate Earth Day,” said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.
Senator Carper, he said, “has been a strong environmentalist throughout his Congressional career. He was the principal sponsor of legislation to control power plant emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide. Senator Carper was also a leading sponsor of DERA, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which has been used to finance the retrofit and replacement of diesel engines in metropolitan areas across the country.
The Senator also understands well the environmental advantages that both freight and passenger railroads offer the nation. He is a sponsor of the recently-introduced the “Clean, Low-Emission, Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act” (CLEAN TEA), S. 575. This is a landmark bill that would make new freight railroad capacity eligible for some of the billions of dollars in new climate revenues that it would raise.”
“Like the Senator, Michael O’Malley is a committed environmentalist,” Hamberger said. “Currently he is managing two on-going LEED certification projects that are expected to set the company’s building standards for years to come. He has also led CSX efforts to install and use solar power whenever feasible. Over just the past five years, his efforts have produced net energy cost savings to CSX of $9.3 million, while at the same time significantly reducing global climate emissions.”
“Railroads are the greenest of the surface transportation modes,” Hamberger said. “In 2007, we were able to move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. Since 1980, we have almost doubled our fuel efficiency.”
Hamberger said the inherent efficiency of the steel wheel on steel rail is only part of the reason railroads have developed an enviable environmental record. “Much of the credit comes from the efforts of the industry’s more than 200,000 people who are committed to operating in as green a manner as possible.” He praised all of those nominated for the Chafee Award, saying any one of them would have been a worthy winner.
In addition to O’Malley, the other railroaders nominated for the Award were:
Dean C. Forshee
Dean Forshee is an electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with BNSF Railway in Barstow, California. A 20-year railroad industry veteran, Dean is supervisor of facilities for the California, Los Angeles, and Southwest-West Divisions for BNSF. Last year, he proposed a program that will produce a two-thirds reduction in energy use and hence fewer global climate emissions for his territory. Working with utility companies to audit energy use, he developed a five-phase energy reduction program that includes lighting, heating, and air retrofits and possible use of solar and wind power. In developing this and other environmental approaches, he did much of the research on his own time.
E. Thomas Meyer
Tom Meyer is a foreman in Amtrak’s Mechanical Department in Chicago. A member of the International Association of Machinists, Tom has worked in the railroad industry for 33 years, the last 13 as foreman in the Wheel Shop in Chicago. He has been a strong supporter of recycling used oil and the filings from the wheel truing shop, activities which generated more than $106,000 in revenue in fiscal year 2007, while at the same time reducing the amount of waste requiring disposal. At his initiative, tanks that are designed to capture fuel and other leaks from locomotives have been modified so as to secure a potential leaky valve.
Patrick C. O’Leary
Pat O’Leary is a wastewater treatment plant operator in Union Pacific’s Safety Department, based out of San Antonio, Tex. Pat has worked for Union Pacific for 34 years and is team leader for his Service Unit, giving him responsibility for quarterly audits at five facilities. Pat has augmented UP’s training programs by putting together the environmental policies that accompany each training section. Working with UP Special Agents, he was able to reduce illegal dumping on UP property, leading to prosecution and fines for the violators. His actions have also reduced spills during fueling operations of reefer cars.
John R. Tomlin
John Tomlin is engineer-geotechnical services with Norfolk Southern in Newnan, Ga. When a state-protected trout stream began consistently to flood after relatively minor rainfalls, service to three customers was threatened along an NS branch in New York. John investigated and discovered the problem was caused by footings from a removed highway grade separation. Working with state officials, he devised a plan to temporarily divert the stream so that accumulated sediment could be removed and installed devices that reduced the likelihood of future flooding, restored natural stream flow and actually improved the habitat for trout. In the process, service to those three customers was preserved. Away from the job, John and his wife led a team of 200 volunteers that have performed free home repair for 26 families and removed truckloads of residential waste.