On June 18, 2014 the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced that U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) had been honored with the 2014 John H. Chafee Congressional Environmental Award, while Christopher K. Durden, a CSX Intermodal Terminals employee from Jacksonville, Fla., had been awarded the 2014 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award. The annual environmental stewardship awards were named for the late Rhode Island senator, who was a strong advocate for conservation and environmental causes and appreciated the environmental advantages of rail transportation. Each year the AAR recognizes a Member of Congress and a railroad employee who have demonstrated the highest level of environmental stewardship.
“Railroads are continuously looking for innovative ways to be excellent stewards of our nation’s environment,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “Both Senator Mikulski and Chris Durden from CSX embody the dedication necessary to ensuring our environment is preserved and protected for generations to come. ”
Sen. Mikulski is committed to protecting our air, land and waterways from pollution in order to preserve our environment for future generations. For decades, Mikulski has been a leader on environmental issues in her home state of Maryland, where she has led efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay by restoring water quality, habitats and fisheries. She has long recognized the environmental benefits of moving freight and passengers by rail. As chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has supported Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for energy efficient forms of transportation, including freight and passenger rail. In her capacity as chairwoman, she has also advocated for investments in cutting-edge research and education programs to develop new sources of clean energy.
Proof of Chris’ commitment to honoring both safety and environmental stewardship is visible in each intermodal terminal project. At CSX’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Facility in North Baltimore, Chris used efficient, zero emission, rail-mounted wide-span cranes that regenerate 60 percent of their power back to the terminal grid, reducing air pollutants by roughly 80 percent per lift. He installed 100 percent recyclable steel crossties, recycled plastic composite track crossings and used triple oil separators for stormwater pretreatment to protect retention basins. To decrease the environmental impact of pavement, at this and the Worcester, Mass., terminal, Chris selected rolled compacted concrete that decreases stormwater runoff, generates less heat and has a longer, lower-maintenance lifespan. Installing that special concrete over the combined sites’ 126 acres of driveways permitted an average of 167 million gallons of stormwater to percolate into aquifers annually. An award-winning member of the American Railway Engineering Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA), Chris promotes railway engineering education within higher academic institutions and consults on course requirements for today’s railroad engineering students.