Congressmen put more pressure on Metrolink to study potential health risks of Cypress Park rail yard

May 30, 2013

Congressmen Xavier Becerra and Adam Schiff   today repeated requests that Metrolink conduct an extensive study of the potential health risks posed by its rail maintenance center in Cypress Park.

During a press conference held this morning across the Los Angeles River in Elysian Valley, Schiff, who was  joined by about 50 other officials and residents, said the commuter rail agency has so far refused to agree to a health assessment study despite repeated requests by his office. In addition to noise generated by idling engines, many residents have also expressed concern about  particulate matter– small particles of pollution that can be inhaled – in the exhaust of the many diesel engines serviced at the center. A health assessment could provide evidence that could support or refute such worries.

“Metrolink has consistently failed to address community fears about the health risk of living near the facility and stonewalled calls for a health assessment,” said Schiff,according to a statement. “We are calling on Metrolink – for what we hope will be the final time – to commit today to a health risk assessment of the health impacts of emissions from their diesel trains.”

In response, Metrolink issued a statement saying that it “takes the concerns being raised by the community …. very seriously” and has already implemented a number of measures to address issues raised by residents:

For example, Metrolink is now running up to 17 locomotives on electric power while they are being inspected at the [rail yard]. We have purchased electric forklifts to replace the diesel units we had been using, and we are planning to purchase a new electric rail car mover to replace our current diesel model. We also recently purchased 20 state-of-the-art low emission “Tier 4” locomotives, the first commuter rail system in the country to do so. Finally, we are working closely with AQMD to undertake an assessment of the [rail yard’s] current and future operations. We look forward to continuing to work with the community and all other interested parties to address these issues as it relates to the [rail yard’s] operations.

Congressman Becerra, in a statement, credited Metrolink for reducing noise and air pollution at the Cypress Park yard, which is located between San Fernando Road and the L.A River. But, he added, more needed to be done

“I urge Metrolink to take seriously the community’s request to conduct a health risk assessment of the Central Maintenance Facility in Cypress Park,” said Becerra said “Area residents deserve as expeditious a process and response as possible to address their air quality and noise concerns.”

Congressman Schiff take the podium at Elysian Valley press conference this morning./Office of Adam Schiff

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