Thursday, May 01, 2014

Virginia learns it's in the oil patch as crude train derails in Lynchburg, sending flaming cars into river

Another train carrying crude oil has derailed, this time in downtown Lynchburg, Va. Wednesday afternoon. Three flaming CSX tank cars carrying crude oil fell into the James River. As of late Wednesday,  nearly 50,000 gallons of crude oil was still unaccounted for, reports The News and Advance of Lynchburg. There were no serious injuries or deaths reported and city drinking water was not affected, although Richmond's drinking water could be affected if the oil reaches that far. (Photo submitted to News and Advance)

"CSX confirmed about 15 tanker cars were involved," The News and Advance reports. "Three or four caught fire, Lynchburg Police Lt. Dave Gearhart said. Each car carried approximately 30,000 gallons. One car was found empty, one car was full, and one car was about one-third full." The train was traveling from Chicago to southeastern Virginia. (Read more)

"The incident also cast a bright light on the rapidly expanding rail transport of crude oil from the Upper Plains through Virginia — and downtown Richmond — to terminals and refineries in the Northeast, raising safety and environmental concerns all along the way," Michael Martz and Rex Springston report for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

"It’s difficult to get Virginia to pay attention to this because they don’t think of their being part of the oil patch, but now they are,” Fred Millar, an Arlington County-based consultant on hazardous materials safety, who has warned Virginia officials of potential dangers from oil transport, told the Times-Dispatch. “Virginia is being used as a transportation corridor only. We get all of the risks and no benefits.” No cause of the derailment has been confirmed, at least publicly. (You Tube video by Ryan Maderi)

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