Senator Warner calls for change in rail safety after Lynchburg t - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Senator Warner calls for change in rail safety after Lynchburg train derailment

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The shock still lingers from the explosion in Lynchburg after the CSX train derailed only a month ago, leaking thousands of gallons of bakken crude oil into the James River.

Senator Mark Warner calls it a "wake up call" for state leaders.

"I think the entire commonwealth was jolted," Warner said.


But most surprised were the first responders who Lynchburg Fire Chief Brad Ferguson says were misinformed.

"We were initially dispatched as a vehicle fire," Ferguson said.

What fire crews didn't know was that it was actually an explosion burning 65,000 gallons of bakken crude oil which WSLS has found is more volatile than conventional crude.

READ PREVIOUS STORIES ON EXPERIMENTATION WITH VOLATILITY OF BAKKEN CRUDE OIL HERE.

Sen. Mark Warner believes Lynchburg narrowly escaped the worst-case scenario.

 "What if these railcars had fallen not into the river but actually into the city?"

Now Warner is pushing for more research on Bakken oil after the fourth explosion this year.

READ MORE ABOUT PREVIOUS EXPLOSIONS.

He's asking transportation leaders in the industry for more accountability, pushing for stronger regulation.


"What is the volatility of this Bakken oil? How are we going to notify the communities that these hundred plus car trains are going through their community? How are we going to make sure these emergency responders are trained to handle these types of situations?"

Bakken crude is now transported 48 times more often than it was in 2008. Warner wants a new governor's task force to focus on how to better transport it, noting the train cars that exploded in Lynchburg are the newest and safest model available.

"So the question is, is even the newest model safe enough for this Bakken crude?"


All questions the Governors task force will be examining over the next year so that new regulations and legislation on the state and federal level can be put into a place to avoid another explosion.


______________________________

Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) will meet with federal, state and local agencies to discuss new regulations and initiatives following April's train derailment in Lynchburg.

Warner will be speaking directly to leaders from the Department of Transportation Pipelines, Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, CSX and the Lynchburg Fire Department.

VIRGINIA SENATORS CALL FOR IMPROVED SAFETY FOLLOWING TRAIN DERAILMENT

The goal is to improve safety when it comes to transporting crude oil through our communities.

The meeting is this morning at 10:30 in Richmond.

Rachel Lucas will have the details tonight on WSLS 10 starting at 5 p.m..
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