Environmental Stewardship a Year-Round Value at Union Pacific
Railroad Celebrates Earth Day with More Than 50 Different Activities
Omaha, Neb., April 03, 2009 Preserving the environment for future generations is a responsibility Union Pacific and its employees embrace. That explains, in part, why the company has been the leading innovator in developing hybrid locomotive technology, improving the fuel efficiency of its locomotives to the point where they can move one ton nearly 830 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. Employee programs contributed to saving 58 million gallons of diesel in 2008.
Union Pacific employees are taking another "green" step this April by conducting more than 50 Earth Day activities in nearly 40 communities.
"Environmental stewardship is a value that touches all of our lives on a daily basis, both at work and at home," said Bob Grimaila, Union Pacific senior assistant vice president, Safety and Environment. "Our employees recognize that while Earth Day is an excellent platform to promote environmental stewardship, what we do to reduce our environmental footprint the other 364 days a year is even more important."
The company's Earth Day activities range from participating in a forest preserve restoration and cleanup project in Chicago to holding a shoe recycling drive in conjunction with a centennial celebration in Roseville, Calif. The company also is conducting environmental education at a Houston grade school and hosting a community Earth Day fair at the Union Pacific headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
Every Day is Earth Day
"We consider every day to be Earth Day at Union Pacific," Grimaila said. "It shows in how we conduct our business.
Union Pacific has been the industry pioneer in identifying and adopting new locomotive technologies, including the ultra-low emitting Genset switcher. The Genset reduces emissions of oxides of nitrogen by up to 80 percent and particulate matter by up to 90 percent while using as much as 37 percent less fuel. Union Pacific has more than 160 Gensets in service, primarily in Texas and California, with plans to add more in the near future. Several other North American railroads have followed Union Pacific's lead in using Genset switching locomotives.
Union Pacific boasts the greenest locomotive fleet of any North American railroad and continues to invest in fuel-efficient locomotives. Since 2000, the company has added more than 3,300 new fuel-efficient, long-haul, high-horsepower locomotives to its fleet.
Railroads are the safest, most environmentally friendly and fuel efficient mode of freight transportation. Freight trains are almost four times more fuel efficient than over-the-road trucks and have less greenhouse gas emissions than trucks. One Union Pacific intermodal train can take 280 trucks off America's congested highways. If just 10 percent of highway freight moved by rail instead, the U.S. annually would save more than one billion gallons of fuel.
Union Pacific is continually improving its fuel efficiency through better locomotive technology, engineer training and employee involvement.
The company's Fuel Masters program is an employee-driven effort to improve fuel efficiency that rewards locomotive engineers with debit cards for their success. More than 6,800 engineers participated in 2008 and helped Union Pacific reduce fuel consumption by four percent compared to 2007.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Union Pacific's comprehensive waste reduction and recycling program touches nearly every part of the organization. The company makes a concerted effort to address high-volume items such as wooden track ties, used oil and e-waste.
Whenever possible, wood track ties that are no longer needed are refurbished for use elsewhere in the system. In addition, Union Pacific has been using concrete ties for nearly 20 years. Concrete ties require less maintenance than wood and last longer, generating less waste.
The company uses automatic fuel-nozzle shutoffs to prevent overflows during locomotive fueling, drip pans to catch oil spills, separators to recover oil from industrial wastewater, and on-board retention tanks to capture residual oil from locomotive engines for proper disposal.
In terms of e-waste, Union Pacific has recycled nearly 700,000 pounds of electronic equipment and 2.5 million pounds of batteries in 2007 and 2008.
In addition, the company recently conducted its inaugural environmental stewardship contest, collecting nominations from 13 states. Its employee Intranet site, UP Online, provides environmental-themed pop quizzes and contains a robust section dedicated to environmental stewardship, including at-work and at-home tips from sources such as EPA, Recycle Nebraska, and the National Recycling Coalition.
"Union Pacific is a great American company with a legendary history and a bright future," Grimaila said. "Our mission today is the same as it was when Abraham Lincoln directed the company to build the transcontinental railroad, and that is to serve. It's a responsibility we take seriously and it's one that includes setting the industry standard for environmental stewardship."
Union Pacific 2009 Earth Day Event Locations (by state)Arizona - Tucson
Arkansas - Little Rock, North Little Rock, Van Buren
California - Los Angeles, roseville, Torrance
Colorado - Denver
Idaho - Pocatello
Illinois - Chicago, Dupo, East St. Louis, Proviso
Iowa - Council Bluffs
Kansas - Coffeyville, Parsons, Wichita
Louisiana - Maringouin
Minnesota - St. Paul
Missouri - DeSoto, Kansas City
Nebraska - North Platte, Omaha
Oklahoma - Chickasha, Muskogee
Oregon - Hermiston, Portland
Texas - El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Palestine, San Antonio, Spring
Utah - Ogden, Salt Lake City
Wyoming - Cheyenne, Green River, Laramie
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
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