Railroad company says trains didn't start Indiana Dunes fires, burning butterfly habitat


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HAMMOND, Indiana — A railroad company is denying claims that its trains started several fires at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2012, burning habitat for an endangered butterfly species.

The Times of Munster (http://bit.ly/1DCEDVp ) reports the federal government has sued Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. The government says video shows trains ejecting hot carbon cinders while traveling between Gary and Ogden Dunes. But the company says no such cinders were deposited.

The government is seeking damages and response costs tied to the fires. Experimental data on the butterfly species also was destroyed.

According to the government, the fires burned 391 acres, or more than half a square mile, at the lakeshore. The lawsuit says vegetation was burned, and damaged items included benches, boardwalks, tables and waste cans.

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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