The fiery train derailment that struck the town of Lynchburg, Virginia should serve as a wake-up call for the dangers of transporting crude by rail as well as for the need for a renewable transformation, environmental groups charge.
In the incident that took place Wednesday, over a dozen tanker cars derailed, shooting smoke and flames into the sky and sending three of the cars into the James River where they leaked oil, causing a “significant spill” and unknown ecological damage.
The CSX train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was about 170 west of its destination, Yorktown, Virgina, when the derailment occurred.
It marks the latest in a series of explosive disasters when trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota derailed.
Just a week before the Lynchburg derailment, railroad industry experts warned at a forum held by the National Transportation Safety Board that none of the train cars traveling through the nation’s towns with North Dakota’s Bakken crude is safe. That warning came just months after the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration warned that crude from North Dakota’s Bakken shale field is “more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil.”
“Sadly the crash and fire in Lynchburg isn’t a surprise,” stated Mollie Matteson, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Northeast office in Richmond, Vermont.
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