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People's World posted a article in EnergyThe fires from Monday's derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Fayette County, West Virginia, continued to burn Tuesday morning, and emergency shelters for hundreds of people who had to evacuate after the derailment remain open. "A CSX train, hauling 107 tank car loads of Bakken Shale crude oil from North Dakota to a transportation terminal in Yorktown, Virginia, derailed in Adena Village near Mount Carbon and Deepwater West Virginia about 1:30 p.m. Monday," according to the Charleston Gazette and Staff writer Ken Ward Jr. At least one house was set ablaze and numerous tank cars either burned or exploded. West Virginia Rivers Executive Director Angela Rosser reported: "Witnesses saw a gigantic fireball raise to the snow-filled heavens. This is the second terrible trauma in as many years to his the Kanawha River valley. Last January a chemical spill from coal industry connected Freedom Industries storage tanks endangered the water of 300,000 people for weeks. It's time to ask you town or county or state -- what is on the rail cars travelling through our community??" Bakken crude has shown to be a volatile form of crude requiring highly flammable chemicals in its transport from North Dakota and other shale gas and oil fields. According to Lynn Cook in the Wall Street Journal, this risk is well known to oil and transport companies. "Data released by a lobbying group for oil refiners confirmed that crude from the Bakken shale in North Dakota is very volatile and contains high levels of combustible gases..." Now, who is surprised at this reaction from that group? "The crude," which has been linked to no less than four fiery rail accidents in a year, "is no more dangerous to ship than oil from other shale regions and is being correctly loaded and transported under existing federal rules. New rules aren't warranted," the group, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, said Wednesday. Federal Railroad Administration workers were only able to get within 50 yards of the derailed cars late Tuesday morning, according to the agency. Some of the rail cars were still on fire, and local emergency responders were still in charge of the scene. Flames also burned power lines in the area, knocking out electricity to about 900 customers in the midst of frigid sub-freezing temperatures. According Appalachian Power spokeswoman Jeri Matheney, reported in the Gazette, "electricity has not yet been restored because repair crews are having trouble accessing the extent of the damage. About 2,400 people were evacuated or displaced by the train derailment, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency." Investigators the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are also already at the scene, and more staff are on the way. Because of the unknown quantities of spill from the exploded or burnt cars, or tank cars in the river, Officials in Montgomery, downriver from the accident, were told to shut down their water intake as a precaution. Reduced water intakes from the Kanawha river have forces water conservation restrictions. One person was treated for smoke inhalation, officials said, but, miraculously, no other injuries have been reported. Kelley Gillenwater, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said that the fires were keeping DEP officials from being able to fully examine the site of the derailment to determine what sort of containment and cleanup is going to be needed. Full details of water sampling being done by the state were not immediately available, but Gillenwater said that so far the results had come back "non-detect." Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in Fayette and Kanawha counties after the derailment. Tomblin scheduled a news conference with federal and state officials at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Montgomery Fire Department. In April 2014, a train carrying crude oil on the same North Dakota-Virginia route derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia. In July 2013, a 74-car train carrying Bakken Shale crude oil derailed in Quebec, Canada, setting off fires and explosions that killed 47 people. On Saturday, at least seven rail cars carrying crude oil caught fire in Northern Ontario after a train traveling from Alberta to eastern Canada derailed, according to media reports. What's riding through your town ready to send you to hell?
Mark Piazzalunga posted a blog entry in The Ecologist SquareThe spill of about 7,500 gallons of a chemical substance from a cistern has polluted the Elk River in West Virginia, forcing 300,000 residents of nine counties not to use tap water for drinking, cooking or bathing since Jan. 9. The chemical material, used in coal processing, came out from a tank of the Freedom Industries Inc. complex, near the river. Freedom Industries president apologized for the spill said the company is working with state and federal officials. The operations to clean up the water of the river Elk Meanwhile go on, and the purification plant near the spill showed only small traces of the toxic chemical substance, ended up in the river. The day before yesterday the Democratic Governor of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin, has decided to revoke a ban on the consumption of tap water in some areas of the State, after the water analysis. An estimated 35,000 residents in Charleston had water restored as of early yesterday, West Virginia American Water said. Responsibilities have to be ensured, although the lack of controls is obvious. West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller said the last time the site of the spill was inspected was in 1991. Also the location of the chemical plant to the water was a hazard and the risk is evident. What is happening right now in West Virginia is unbelievable and not just for the gravity of the situation. There had been other accidents in 2008 and 2009 that brought to a NY Times investigation that revealed violations of pollution laws from some companies in the same valley of the chemical spill case. How many disasters have to happen to change this situation? What is more incredible is that three years ago a team of experts in the United States Chemical Safety Board had asked West Virginia to create a new program to prevent accidents in the Kanawha Valley, the valley of the accident. No program was established by West Virginia and now the population have to pay the price. Chemical and mining companies are an important part of W. Virginia economy so there must be a way to prevent future accidents and not to destroy an important part of the state economy. Still, according to the critics, laws and controls aren’t effective to counteract these accidents. Now the damages are visible, the signal is loud and clear: a strengthening of the regulations and the controls of this area is required. These controls shouldn’t affect the economy too much and they have to prevent similar accidents in the future. References: Bloomberg News Photo from Fox News