AAR - Association of American Railroads

10/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 12:17

Norfolk Southern’s Scoble Honored for Environmental Stewardship

WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 27, 2021 -The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today awarded Norfolk Southern Railway's (NS) Robert Scoble the 2021 Professional Environmental Excellence Award, the industry's highest honor for environmental professionals. The award was presented to Atkinson during the 2021 virtual Railroad Environmental Seminar.

Robert Scoble has worked for NS for seven years, currently as Engineer Environmental Operations - Safety & Environmental where he has enhanced the environmental performance of the company in multiple areas. As the Environmental Operations Engineer for a territory comprised of all facilities in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, he is critical to maintaining the compliance and operations across the region. He serves as the "boots on the ground" force that is responsible for surveying and inspecting his assigned territory, ensuring local supervision understands and complies with the environmental laws, regulations, permits, plans and best management practices that apply to their facilities, and correcting deficient areas.

As an example, Scoble successfully resolved habitual pH stormwater discharge violations occurring at the Moorman Yard in Ohio. The Moorman Yard has had multiple, ongoing pH exceedances at the facility's permitted discharge due to algae blooms developing within the facility's large stormwater ponds. Scoble conducted multiple investigations and determined the algal blooms formed due to excess nutrients discharged from runoff from the classification yard, local wastewater treatment plants and farmlands that also drain into the yard's ponds. Scoble set up a new innovative sonification treatment system which kills the algae with sound waves, to disrupt the growth of most of the algal species present within the stormwater ponds, and by doing so, it controlled the pH levels at the yard stormwater outfall. The system installed at Moorman Yard was a first for a NS facility and achieved dramatic positive results. The system - combined with algae eating fish - reduced the need for full application of algicides at the facility and the associated costs by more than two-thirds. As a result, the facility went without an annual pH exceedance for the first time in 10 years. During a recent facility inspection, the local regulator commented that they were interested in this strategy and will be recommending it to other facilities in the area with similar pH/algae issues.

In addition to Scoble, five other railroad environmental professionals were nominated for the 2021 Environmental Excellence Award. The other nominees are as follows:

Michael Clift - BNSF Railway

For over twenty-nine years Clift has played an active role within his organization to grow environmental stewardship and sustainability. Clift is also the primary manager of the organization's asbestos management program which incorporates the assessment and management of asbestos containing material (ACM) for over 13,000 bridges and 6,000 buildings. Over the last year, he has implemented a new ACM information management system which significantly enhances the tracking and coordination of ACM management to ensure both internal and external stakeholders are not impacted by the hazards presented with ACM. Clift also serves as a primary member of the Environmental Best Way Program which continually improves the company's environmental footprint. Clift actively finds and develops projects that drive environmental stewardship, making the job of environmental compliance less difficult for field staff, and developing the skills of the Best Way team members involved in the program.

Michael Panhuise - Amtrak

Throughout his projects and compliance activities, Panhuise - Amtrak's Senior Project Manager for Environmental Compliance - ensures other Amtrak departments understand the environmental requirements so together they can develop a plan to complete the environmental work while minimizing disruptions to operations and other projects going on at the same time. In 2021, Panhuise achieved a major milestone for the company by closing out a years-long sewer piping repair and remediation project at the 100-year-old rail yard in Washington, D.C. and receiving a "No Further Action" letter from the regulatory agency. Throughout the multi-year project, he coordinated multiple phases of work with multiple contractors at the active railyard and served as both the project manager and technical lead on all phases.

Hillary Parker - Union Pacific Railroad

With 23 years of service, Parker is Union Pacific's Senior Director - Fuel & Environmental Capital Programs - Supply Chains. Hillary Parker chartered Union Pacific's fuel and environmental capital program strategy from inception to execution to align with UP's environmental policies and mission. Parker's team developed engineering design standards and standard work procedures for infrastructure renewal that includes industrial wastewater collection, treatment plants, overfill protection, corrosion mitigation, oil handling, process controls, electric power, fall protection, industrial waste containment and asbestos remediation. These have been utilized become benchmarks in the rail industry and reflect best management practices.

James Roberts - CSX

Roberts leads a team of 13 environmental professionals who manage all environmental compliance tasks at more than 250 facilities. He also leads the company's System Track Mat Program. Under Roberts' direction, a team of two union employees and two contractors travel the system to remediate these areas and either replace existing track mat or install new mat, which is designed to contain and absorb minor drips from locomotives. On average, JB's track mat team installs or replaces 50,000 to 100,000 feet of track mat each year.

Jennifer Welch - Watco

Since 2018, Welch served as Environmental Manager for Watco where she developed and implemented the Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans (COSRP) for all of its railroads. She then went on to create a self-paced, computer-based training module that captured all of the required elements for COSRP awareness training. The training is assigned and tracked electronically by Watco. Welch also developed the Watco COSRP Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) activities including designing quarterly drills and tabletop exercises. During these unannounced quarterly drills, she uses computer-based programs to initiate and document to assess and enhance preparedness.


For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at [email protected] or 202-639-2345.

About AAR: The AAR is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak.

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