Safety Concerns Were Raised Before Lynchburg Train Derailment

Lynchburg, VA - Wednesday's train derailment is actually the 6th derailment in the last year in the US and Canada involving a tanker carrying crude oil in according to WVEC-TV in Norfolk. On April 14, WVEC-TV interviewed Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club's Virginia chapter, who expressed concern in the number of train derailments involving crude oil."This Bakken Shale oil is explosive, it's being hauled in here to be stored and then exported for refining and we really think that people need to be aware of this and take special precautions," Besa said at the time. "It's really important, with a fuel this volatile, that emergency preparedness people be aware of what you're dealing with in case there was an accident here."The other derailments have occurred in Quebec, Canada, New Brunswick, Canada, Cassel Town, North Dakota, Pickens County, Alabama, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and now Lynchburg. In each case, tanker trains were carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota. In this case the trains are hauling the oil to York County to be stored. Besa says the train service hauling millions of gallons of raw crude oil to that facility started in December. Since then, he says he's urged CSX, and other companies that transport this oil to change their methods. Besa claims the cars are not strong enough to withstand the impact of a possible derailment. There were no injuries in Lynchburg's derailment Wednesday, but that wasn't the case when crude oil cars derailed in Canada last year. There, the explosion destroyed a small town and killed nearly 50 people. "They are already looking at developing new rail cars that will not leak when they're involved and will not rupture when they're involved in a derailment. Obviously you had a rupture here, you had an explosion and one really needs to wonder whether or not the precautions taken right now are adequate if you've had five explosions in the last ten months," Besa said. Besa says the oil can be extremely harmful to the environment and severely contaminate drinking water.