Details released surrounding crude oil train routes in Virginia

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

YORKTOWN -- The public is getting its first look at details surrounding trains loaded with volatile crude oil that travel through Virginia.

CSX operates between two and five trains loaded with crude oil through Virginia each week, according to a disclosure report filed with the state's department of emergency management earlier in June.

CSX Notification Report

The disclosure was filed in accordance with a new requirement from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which requires railroads operating trains hauling more than one million gallons of Bakken crude oil to notice state emergency response commissions.

The reports are intended to be shared with local emergency management agencies so that they can be better prepared for a crash in their area.  Included in the notification is detailed information from the railroad on how to safely respond to a derailment.

Bakken crude oil, which is pumped from the Bakken oil shale in North Dakota, is highly flammable. A train hauling three million gallons of Bakken shale oil to a refinery in Yorktown in April when it crashed in Lynchburg.

The new disclosure rules were handed down through an emergency order from USDOT on May 7, just a week after the Lynchburg crash.

In Hampton Roads, the trains travel through James City County, Williamsburg and Newport News before arriving at the Plains Terminal facility in Yorktown.

The Plains Terminal facility in Yorktown is the only refinery in Virginia. 13News Now began investigating the safety implications surrounding trains hauling oil to the facility in mid-April, before the crash in Lynchburg.

The two pages of information detailing the train's route and frequency were originally withheld by VDEM at the insistence of CSX. The railroad has required states to sign a non-disclosure agreement for parts of notification reports.

On Friday, though, VDEM announced it was making the entire report publicly available because the information CSX deemed proprietary could be obtained elsewhere.

 

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