State of Virginia forms Task Force on Railroad Safety & Security

Repost from The Lynchburg News & Advance

McAuliffe names co-chairs of new railroad safety task force

Autumn Parry/The News & Advance  |  May 15, 2014
Olympia Meola Richmond Times-Dispatch
Train derailment
Autumn Parry/The News & Advance – Train derailment – Three CSX tankers sink as they leak crude oil into the James River after the train derailed in Lynchburg on April 30.

Virginia’s secretaries of Transportation and of Public Safety and Homeland Security will co-chair the state’s Railroad Safety and Security Task Force established in the aftermath of the train derailment in Lynchburg that thrust cars carrying crude oil into the James River.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday announced leadership of the interagency panel that will also include representatives from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, the State Corporation Commission, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia State Police.

The task force, which will hold its inaugural meeting at 1 p.m. on June 4, will solicit input from the public and present recommended state and federal actions intended to prevent future accidents and ensure the state is prepared should one occur.

The tanker car derailment April 30 in Lynchburg raised concerns over the potential threat to public water supplies in the Richmond area and the ecology of the James River.

The CSX train was carrying 105 tanker cars of crude oil from shale fields in North Dakota to Yorktown. Seventeen of the tanker cars derailed, and a massive fire ensued. Three of the derailed cars tumbled into the James River.

McAuliffe said in a statement that the task force is an important step toward ensuring that Virginia “is doing everything it can to keep our railroads and the communities around them safe, and that we are prepared to respond to incidents like the derailment and fire in Lynchburg earlier this month.”

“I have asked Secretaries [Brian J. Moran] and [Aubrey Layne] to bring our public safety, transportation and environmental protection agencies together to investigate what happened in Lynchburg and make recommendations of how Virginia can work with the federal government to keep our communities and our natural resources as safe as possible.”

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