Michael Iden, a Union Pacific employee from Chicago, Ill., has been awarded the 2012 John H. Chafee Environmental Excellence Award. U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) was honored with the 2012 John H. Chafee Congressional Environmental Award.
Named after the late Senator from Rhode Island, a strong advocate for conservation and environmental causes who appreciated the environmental advantages of rail transportation, the Chafee awards recognize a railroad employee and a member of Congress who have demonstrated the highest level of environmental stewardship.
“Railroads and their employees strive every day to be excellent stewards of our nation’s environment. Our 2012 Chafee award winners both embody that dedication and I am pleased to bestow on them the industry’s top environmental honors today,” said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward Hamberger.
In his home state of New Mexico, Sen. Udall worked to pass some of the state’s first environmental laws. He has continued that work in Washington, D.C., by promoting policies to protect natural resources, improve air quality and clean up hazardous waste.
As a 38-year veteran of the railroad industry and general director of car and locomotive engineering at UP, Iden has helped pioneer more than 40 new fuel efficiency improvement and emissions reduction technologies, from battery technology in locomotives to reducing friction on rails and aerodynamic drag from double stack trains.
Iden has played a key role in the development of emissions reduction technologies like ultra-low emitting locomotives, which at UP, have reduced fuel consumption by 5.8 million gallons and eliminated 1,670 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), 55 tons of particulate matter (PM), and 65,500 tons of CO2. Iden’s work with distributed power on longer trains resulted in a 20 percent improvement in locomotive productivity, while testing he did with older locomotives on coal trains led to a 20 percent increase in locomotive productivity and fuel improvements. Today, due in large part to Iden’s efforts, more than 65 percent of UP’s total freight train work is now produced using distributed power.