The large train derailment, fire, and oil spill in Lynchburg, Virginia has been making headlines today. The fire was enormous, and about 50,000 gallons of oil is “missing,” as in burned off or spilled into the James River. The James is a primary source for drinking water for the city of Richmond.
You may have noticed that trains carrying oil have been crashing a lot recently, many of them exploding. An article over at the Huffington Post sheds some light on what is becoming a serious public safety concern. This most recent crash occurred some distance from town and there were no casualties. But these heavy trains pulling oil in cars not up to the task of handling the extremely flammable oil from the Bakken shale have been likened to bombs on the rails.
If you’re looking to get some more context on the recent crash, we highly recommend you check out DeSmog Blog’s coverage of it, which is being handled by Steve Horn.
Today, Horn made it clear that the oil the train was carrying was indeed crude from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and was headed to Plains All American’s huge holding facility in Yorktown, Virginia. As Horn puts it: “Yorktown may become a key future site for crude oil exports if the ban on exports of oil produced domestically in the U.S. is lifted.”
Top photograph by Upper James Riverkeeper