State of Emergency Declared in West Virginia Due to Derailed Oil Train

The train was carrying Bakken crude oil when it derailed, causing a fire as well as a spill into the Kanawha River, which threatened a municipal drinking water supply.

A CSX Corp. train with 107 rail cars carrying Bakken crude oil derailed in West Virginia, causing a fiery crash and a spill into the Kanawha River. Because the spill could potentially reach a municipal water intake, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a state of emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties. This was the second crash in the last 10 months involving a CSX train carrying Bakken oil.

The Federal Railroad Administration issued the following statement: "An investigation team from the Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are en route to a CSX crude oil train derailment in West Virginia. Both agencies are monitoring the situation closely and will commence official inquiries into the cause of the derailment. The agencies are prepared to take all necessary enforcement actions following the investigation."

Investigators from FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration quickly reached the scene, and Sarah Feinberg, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, and the agency's chief safety officer, Robert Lauby, traveled to West Virginia to survey the site of the derailment and fire. Once the site is secured, officials will begin the investigation into the cause of the derailment.

By the evening of Feb. 17, drinking water intakes had reopened and residents near the spill who had taken refuge at shelters had returned home, according to a report filed by Rusty Marks and several other reporters for the Charleston Gazette.

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