WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22, 2010 — The Association of American Railroads last night announced that Charles Keltner, a BNSF Railway employee from Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded the this year’s John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award. U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) also was honored with the Congressional Chafee Award, which each year goes to a member of Congress who demonstrates dedication to the environment.
Named after the late Senator from Rhode Island – a strong advocate for conservation, environmental causes, and who appreciated the environmental advantages of rail transportation – the Chafee award recognizes a railroad employee and a member of Congress who have demonstrated the highest level of environmental stewardship during the previous year.
“It is particularly appropriate that around Earth Day each year, we announce these awards to honor individuals that represent environmental excellence in the railroad industry and in shaping our nation’s public policy,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.
“Senator Lautenberg has emphasized his support of the environment and his support for an environmentally sound, balanced transportation system throughout his career,” Hamberger said. “Like the Senator, Charlie Keltner is committed to serving not only his company, but also the environment.”
Keltner, senior manager of corporate facilities for BNSF, was one of six railroad employees nominated to receive the Chafee Award. Among his accomplishments are programs at the BNSF corporate campus that have reduced irrigation needs by 30 million gallons, implementation of a single stream recycling program that recovers almost half of all waste generated and use of innovative roofing materials to reduce air conditioning needs by up to 15 percent.
In addition to Keltner, the other railroaders nominated for the Award were:
Gary Esposito is an assistant superintendent with Amtrak’s mechanical department, based in Sanford, Fla. He recently implemented of a pilot program for on-board recycling along Amtrak’s important Virginia to Florida routes. He not only developed the on-board recyclable collection system, but in just eight months he also contracted with vendors at route endpoints for single-stream recycling. He also devised a system that has reduced the potential for chemical spills in car cleaning and is investigating the use of grey water for that same purpose.
Bob Karwoski is special agent in charge with Norfolk Southern’s police department in Pittsburgh. He is well-known for his excellent relationships with local emergency personnel, which have proven invaluable in coordinating actions with local responders during two separate hazmat situations in Pennsylvania. He currently is an active member of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Region 13 group and was a pioneer in the railroad’s efforts to develop evacuation plans and security contingency measures associated with security sensitive events in the northeast.
Ron Kotylak is supervisor of structures for Canadian Pacific Railway at Coquitlam Yard in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. He has led efforts to protect water resources along CP’s infrastructure and has changed the way work is conducted near streams and creeks to reduce or eliminate practices that may have a negative impact on water resources and habitat. An example of this occurred last year when he organized an effort that allowed adult salmon to reach spawning grounds in spite of a deteriorated culvert that was blocking their access.
Chuck Kunkel is senior manager, research and development, with Union Pacific in Omaha. He is responsible for testing and monitoring the infrastructure that transports, stores, and dispenses more than 1 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year. That includes more than 100 miles of pipelines, 100 million gallons of storage, and 50 fuel sites. Under his leadership, spills have been cut to such an extent that there has been a 58 percent reduction over seven years in fuel recovered at waste water treatment plants, in spite of a 13 percent increase in volume over the same period.
Kenneth G. Lewis
Ken Lewis is director of advanced engineering with CSX in Jacksonville. He has been involved with improving energy efficiency for locomotive operation and train handling practices throughout his 26 year railroad career. He was responsible for one program which reduced fuel consumption by 19 million gallons between 2005 and 2009, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 200,000 tons. Another one of his projects is estimated to have reduced the company’s fuel consumption by up to 8 percent.