Environmental groups are suing BNSF Railway Co., Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific Corp. to get the companies to use methods that reduce diesel soot, upgrade from older locomotives and trucks, and refrain from idling near residential areas. The companies operate 17 California rail yards whose total diesel particulate matter emissions surpass 160 tons annually, according to the California Air Resources Board. A BNSF spokeswoman, however, said rail is the "most environmentally efficient mode of surface transportation."

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