Train derailment in West Virginia

Earlier this week, a train transporting crude oil derailed close to Boomer, West Virginia. The train was carrying oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia. CSX Corporation Inc. (CSX) operated the one hundred-car train.

Conflicting reports have emerged on the impact of the derailment. Some reports suggests that the derailment may have polluted the Kanawha River, a major waterway in West Virginia, because one of the rail cars entered the river. Other reports state that none of the rail cars entered the river. Approximately twenty of the rail cars were ignited.

West Virginia has declared a state of emergency for the county where the crash occurred, Fayette County, and a neighboring county, Kanawha County. A number of families have been evacuated. The West Virginia Department of Public Safety has issued a statement that its tests have not revealed any detectable amounts of crude oil.

It remains to be seen whether CSX will incur the same amount of litigation generated by previous derailments. Several companies involved in the train derailment in Quebec, Canada have filed for bankruptcy. Forty-seven people were killed in that incident. CSX has stated that the rail cars involved in the crash were updated models that were designed to withstand more damage than older models.

Review the proposed standards for crude oil shippers.