"At the vast BNSF rail yard in Kansas City, Kan., dozens of trains stretch into the distance. You can feel them rumble. You can hear the roar of 4,400-horsepower diesel locomotives. And you can smell their exhaust.
For generations, the rail yard has been the economic lifeblood of the economically challenged Argentine and Turner communities, employing more than 2,000 people. But lately, residents have worried that air pollution from the yard could be damaging their health.
For more than a year, they’ve been monitoring the air quality just outside the rail yard, stationing a portable air sampling device on porches and in front yards to collect microscopic particles of diesel exhaust increasingly linked to lung diseases, cancer, heart attacks and premature births.
Those residents now say they have strong evidence that the rail yard’s locomotives produce unhealthy levels of pollution — high enough to create risks of death or hospitalization. They want the railroad to clean up the air."