Lynchburg Train Derailment Raises Environmental Concerns - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Lynchburg Train Derailment Raises Environmental Concerns

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - Speed does not appear to be a factor in Thursday's train derailment in Lynchburg. An initial investigation reveals the train was going 24 miles per hour.  

All 105 cars on the CSX train were carrying oil when 13 of them derailed and burst into flames. 50,000 gallons of crude oil were leaked into the James River, which raises environmental concerns.

The Department of Environmental Quality says that recent rain has actually helped to dissipate much of the oil that spilled into the river. There is the potential for a negative effect which is why they're keeping a close eye on the situation.

Emergency responders quickly sprang into action and set up booms along the James River to catch oil from going down stream. Officials say most of the oil has been contained but it does appear that some oil has moved downstream from Lynchburg.

Bill Hayden with the Department of Environmental Quality says the oil hasn't had an effect on the environment so far and doesn't believe it will because of the response but they're waiting to see.

"It could affect fish… it could affect whatever lives in the river," he says. "It could affect whatever is alongside the river banks. So there's a number of things we'll be looking at as we continue our monitoring."

But some environmentalists say they saw this coming.

"About a month ago the Sierra Club became aware of this problem," says Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa. "They've been shipping this extreme crude since last December on CSX lines."

Besa says they sent this release out in March saying in part, "we're concerned that the oil being shipped, has been implicated in major oil train explosions in Quebec, North Dakota, Alabama and New Brunswick."

This is the 5th explosion in the last 10 months from this particular crude oil being shipped around the country and through Canada.
Meanwhile localities say area drinking water is okay, though they are testing it frequently for oil, just in case.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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