Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 10, 2015, Page 5, Image 5

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

April 10, 2015
Legislation takes aim at
‘non-therapeutic’ uses
Capital Press
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Michael Lerner, owner of Rail Lo-
gistics and Cold Train, is shown
at a Cold Train open house in
Quincy, Wash., in 2013.
Capital Press
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Attendees at a Cold Train open house in photograph refrigerated
Cold Train containers being loaded onto a BNSF train in Quincy,
Wash., June 5, 2013. Cold Train went out of business in 2014 and
now its owner is suing.
“Fruit was late. Retailers
were mad. Shippers were an-
gry,” Foreman said.
On April 24, BNSF wrote
a letter to the U.S. Secretary of
Transportation supporting the
Port of Quincy’s request for a
grant to expand the rail yard
serving Cold Train. The same
day, BNSF informed Lawson
and Lerner that 72-hour service
was replaced with 125-hour
service, the lawsuit states.
Lerner and Lawson met
with BNSF on April 28 but
BNSF declined to restore 72-
hour service. Federated with-
drew its offer to buy Rail Lo-
gistics and Cold Train.
Dan Wheat/Capital Press
Steve Lawson, president of
Rail Logistics and Cold Train,
is shown at a Cold Train open
house in Quincy, Wash., in 2013.
Legislation that would re-
strict “non-therapeutic” anti-
biotic use in livestock produc-
tion is pitting doctors against
veterinarians in Oregon.
The Oregon Medical As-
sociation and the Oregon
Health & Science University
recently came out in favor of
Senate Bill 920, which would
disallow the use of antibiotics
to promote growth or prevent
disease in farm animals.
The groups argue that lim-
iting such uses is necessary to
prevent resistance to antibi-
otics among microbial patho-
Brian Wong, chair of
OHSU’s infectious diseas-
es division, said that treating
healthy animals with antibiot-
ics increases the danger that
humans will encounter dis-
eases that are immune to these
crucial drugs.
Wong testified on behalf
of OHSU and OMA during
an April 6 hearing before the
Senate Committee on Health
Care, which is reviewing SB
The Oregon Veterinary
Medical Association opposes
the bill because its definition
of “non-therapeutic” includes
antibiotic uses that are nec-
essary to ensure herd health,
such as when a disease is “ex-
pected or is in the beginning
Veterinarians use antibi-
otics to manage populations,
unlike doctors who treat in-
dividual people, according
to testimony submitted by
Chuck Meyer, the group’s
The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration is already re-
ducing antibiotic use in live-
stock by ending treatments
aimed at weight gain and feed
efficiency by the end of 2016,
he said.
BUYING 6” and UP
Alder, Maple, Cottonwood
Saw Logs, Standing Timber
SPOKANE — The owner
and top official of the company
that owns Cold Train, a defunct
refrigerated rail service between
the Pacific Northwest and Mid-
west, is suing BNSF Railway
for $41 million or more.
The lawsuit alleges BNSF
reneged on a contract to provide
rail service to Cold Train, misrep-
resented itself in saying it would
improve rail service and did so
knowing a sale of the company
depended on it, said Dale Fore-
man, a Wenatchee, Wash., attorney
representing the plaintiffs, Michael
Lerner and Steve Lawson.
Lerner is the owner of Over-
land Park, Kan.-based Rail Lo-
gistics, which owns Cold Train.
Lawson is president of Rail
Logistics. The lawsuit was filed
on their behalf in U.S. District
Court in Spokane on April 7.
A BNSF spokesman had no
immediate comment.
The lawsuit seeks an
amount to be proven at trial es-
timated to be in excess of $41
million, Foreman said. Of that,
$31.7 million is for the loss of
the sale of Cold Train to Fed-
erated Railways of Farmington
Hills, Mich., and approximate-
ly $6 million is for Cold Train’s
acquisition of refrigerated rail
cars to build up the business,
he said.
Cold Train operated from
April 2010 to August 2014 and
grew to about 700 refrigerated
containers per month headed
east, carrying apples, produce
and frozen goods. The refrig-
erated containers were loaded
onto BNSF trains in Cold Train
yards in Quincy, Wash., and
While costing more than
trucking, the service steadily
grew. Central Washington ap-
ple shippers liked it because
their apples were getting to
Midwest and East Coast desti-
nations faster and fresher, Fore-
man said.
The service was 92 percent
on time with 72-hour deliv-
ery from Quincy to Chicago,
he said. From Illinois, service
reached into 18 other states in
the East and South.
Based on that service record,
Lerner and Lawson bought
more refrigerated containers
with a goal of 1,000 per month
going east, Foreman said.
“They went to all the big
fruit shippers, Rainier, Stemilt,
and were getting everyone on
board to use the service,” he
In August, 2013, Lerner
and Lawson began looking for
a capital partner to help fund
the expansion of Cold Train.
That resulted in a Jan. 20, 2014,
agreement for Federated to buy
Rail Logistics and Cold Train.
Meanwhile, BNSF’s on-
time delivery began dropping,
first to 81 percent in September
2013 and then to 54 percent in
October and 35 percent in De-
cember, according to the law-
Each month, BNSF kept as-
suring Lerner and Lawson that
service would improve and was
enthusiastic about the sale of
the business to Federated, the
lawsuit states.
“Our belief is the railroad
was making so much money
shipping shale oil out of North
Dakota into Chicago that it
didn’t have space on the rails
for Cold Train,” Foreman said.
In March 2014, Lawson and
Louis Ferris, president of Fed-
erated, met with BNSF in Fort
Worth to discuss the future of
Cold Train.
“At the meeting, BNSF con-
tinued to encourage Lawson
and Lerner to proceed with the
sale,” the lawsuit states.
As a result, Federated “in-
fused capital of $1.25 million
into Cold Train,” the lawsuit
By April, on-time service
had dropped to 3 percent, Cold
Train was losing business and
Lawson repeatedly complained
to BNSF, the lawsuit says.
Livestock antibiotic bill
divides doctors, veterinarians
Cold Train owner
sues BNSF Railway
Defunct service
alleges railroad’s
poor on-time
record hurt